£1300 per Day

When visiting a cathedral, one often sees some eye-watering figure about how much it costs per day to run such a place, helpfully attached to a glass box in which money can be placed. Blackburn, our local Anglican cathedral, does not charge for entry, but does quote such a figure. £1300 per day, it is claimed, is required to run the establishment. Its website states it is £57 per hour, which is just above the earlier figure, while also indicating that maintenance and repairs are in addition to this sum. Why does it need so much money?

Running a church is far more expensive that people imagine. Even if, like ours, premises are not listed for historical reasons which require more expensive repairs, one must still pay for various insurance policies, fire extinguishers, licenses for music, heating, lighting and the rest. If these are the burdens placed on a small country chapel, how much more a large, urban cathedral. I have empathy for the cathedral treasurer, who must raise funds to cover his costs and more besides. My empathy does not translate into sympathy, however. Backburn Diocese has many fine people working in it, not least the Bishop, who is a good man at a time when most Anglican prelates are about as much use as chocolate fireguards. Nevertheless, try going on the cathedral’s website to find the gospel clearly shared, because I certainly couldn’t find it. Go to the cathedral itself and find an explanation of the good news. You’ll find several statues of Mary, however, and a rather hideous, modern representation of Jesus which looks like a prop from a horror film (below). I looked up one of its canons, whose ‘testimony’ features in a local newspaper interview. She explains how she ‘felt the call of God’ to become a cleric, but not how she came to Christ to begin with. Assuming, of course, she ever did. I know it is easy to sneer. It is all too temptinng to look down on other people and denominations and think them inferior to one’s own lofty standards. But in truth, what does that £1300 per day get spent on? It certainly does not seem to be evangelism and Bible preaching.

I am not a wealthy man, though I seek to spend my money knowing that one day I shall be held to account by the One whose money it really is. Before I give to a cause or a ministry, I must ask whether Christ will be glorified thereby, or whether it just goes to prop up and subsidise man-made, flesh-glorifying ventures. I fear too many resources in our time are diverted to Mount Gerizim and away from Mount Zion.