St Banal's Cathedral and its Woke Picture

“Is there any more room on the bandwagon? It’s looking very crowded.”

“Welcome aboard! Shove-up, everyone. There’s always room for another”.

St Alban’s Cathedral has rushed aboard the Black Lives Matter omnibus, erecting a huge mural print over one of its altars depicting a black Jesus presiding over the last supper. A cathedral spokeswoman said

"We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement to be allies for change, building a strong, just and fair community where the dignity of every human being is honoured and celebrated, where black voices are heard, and where black lives matter."

Basically: ‘We think racism is wrong’. Great. Well done. Top marks.

I’m actually less troubled by this gimmick as I was by last year’s mini golf courses and helter-skelters (see Fairways to Heaven, Sliding to Hell). English cathedrals are not churches, by which I mean communities of Christ’s people. Many Anglican parishes meet the description, but the cathedrals are just expensive-to-heat community hubs, galleries and museums. Let’s take a look at St Albans’ website, the biggest sections on its homepage which here I list:

An art/history exhibition:

The Story of St Albans Cathedral - The Power of Pilgrimage

Discover the story of St Alban and the Cathedral's rich history in our exhibition area.


Here’s another:

A stunning exhibition of the giant puppets used in the annual Alban Pilgrimage.

As you walk around the Cathedral you will see 12ft lions, Roman soldiers, Alban, Amphibalus and many more characters from a remarkable moment in history over 1700 years ago.


Here’s a lecture:

When did the Middle Ages End?

Historians like to box up the past into neat categories.


Here’s a giving page: 

Thank you for your donation.

Thank you, your support makes a difference.

Here’s an educational course:

Online Latin for Beginners (Part 2)

Here’s another:

Say What You See: Art and Belief in Christianity (SACT & SACT+)

And another:

An Introduction to Old English

Is this a Christian community or an FE college? A church or the town’s art gallery?

Tucked away in the Worship section are some links to the 'spiritual side'. Although, to its credit, there is a page from which prayer requests can be sent in, there’s nothing even remotely resembling an explanation of the gospel, no scripture quoted, no evangelical life. There are links to online services, which neither I nor the casual visitor have the patience to watch. This, the cathedral staff might argue, is where all the gospel content is located. Sure. 

The woke BLM art installation, conveniently timed to make St Albans Cathedral appear in tune with the protestors, is the least of its problems. Judging by its website, the Cathedral is the very embodiment of insipid Anglicanism, banal spirituality, anaemic religion. The BBC’s headline should have read:

St Alban’s art gallery displays topical installation. It might have made the regional news page, three from the bottom.