The Financial Cost of Lockdown

Sponsored pilgrimage, a wing and a prayer, and beacon of hope: cathedrals start to count the financial cost of lockdown

Cathedrals get creative in face of financial impact of lockdown.

Clergy from Wells Cathedral will retrace ancient steps from Glastonbury to Wells in a sponsored pilgrimage to help raise much needed funds for the cathedral and it’s local hospice.

The pandemic has had a huge financial impact on both Wells Cathedral and St Margaret’s Hospice Care with the cathedral seeing its visitors disappear overnight and the hospice unable to organise its usual fundraising activities.

The funds raised from the seven-mile sponsored pilgrimage this Saturday (July 25) will be shared equally between the Cathedral’s Bounce Back Appeal and St Margaret’s.

Wells Cathedral launched its Bounce Back Appeal when they were allowed to re-open to raise much needed funds for its continuing mission to be at the heart of local renewal and recovery, and to care for its unique heritage.

It also wants to fill the Cathedral with flowers as a tribute to those who have lost their lives during the crisis, and in thanksgiving for the dedication of so many front line workers in Somerset.

The Dean of Wells, the Very Revd John Davies said:

“Like so many organisations, the Cathedral faces very real financial challenges at this time. During lockdown 70,000 people have not been able to come to the Cathedral, and the financial impact is far reaching.

“It has been an inspiring start, more than £35,000 has been raised so far from personal donations. Now more than ever, support is needed to sustain the Cathedral and all that it does. Its work is continuing, providing pastoral support daily for those impacted in a variety of ways throughout this pandemic; offering services, music, prayer and reflection online; and the upkeep of its precious heritage,“ he added.

The (socially distanced) pilgrimage sets off from the Cathedral at 2pm, there will be a tea at the Cathedral followed by a special pilgrimage Evening Prayer at 5.15pm.

Ripon Cathedral has also teamed up with a local charity, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to raise much needed funds for both organisations by asking people to donate an angel in honour of those on the frontline of the crisis and help create a unique art installation in the nave that opens on Yorkshire Day.

A Wing and a Prayer asked people to fill in prayer requests and donate a paper angel onto which their prayer is written before the angels are installed in a great net fixed at height across the nave.

So far the fundraiser has raised over £130,000 to be shared between the Cathedral and the Air Ambulance and seen over 10,000 angels donated since March including eleven local schools who decided to create their own special angels in lockdown.

Volunteers are busy helping prepare the angels for hanging and the exhibition will go on display on August 1 when it is hoped they will inspire quiet reflection and contemplation of these challenging times.

The Dean of Ripon, the Very Revd John Dobson, said:

“We never anticipated that this project would capture the imagination of people right across the region in the way that it has.

“The thousands of angels speak of gratitude and prayer; adorning the wonderful space that is the nave of Ripon Cathedral, they will be a spectacular arrangement of beauty for all, and an expression of praise for the faithful,” he added.

You can still donate an angel here.

The exhibition opens on Saturday August 1 and remains until Tuesday September 29, the feast of St Michael and All Angels.

Gloucester Cathedral has launched the Beacon of Hope Appeal and have pledged a commitment to play a crucial role in their community and their region’s recovery and renewal with a programme of cultural and well-being events that they hope will keep the cathedral’s beacon burning brightly.

The Cathedral is aiming to raise £1m by Christmas and launched the Appeal with the announcement it had just received a donation of £250,000 from the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust Charity Survival Fund designed to provide much needed funds to UK charities struggling with loss of income due to Covid-19

Like all cathedrals, the closure of its doors in lockdown has had a huge financial impact.

The Dean of Gloucester, the Very Revd Stephen Lake, explained:

“For the first time in 800 years we have had to close our doors and live separately from our community. The inevitable drop in funding is acute for all cathedrals. By the end of 2021, we stand to lose somewhere in the region of £1.3 million.

“Yet, at a time when so many lives have been turned upside down, our aim is not to step back, but to step up. Rather than wait for things to get better, we want to reach out, to embrace our community and to heal. Gloucester Cathedral must continue to be a place of sanctuary, solace and reinvigoration. All funds raised will be used to keep the building open for all and to enable a programme of cultural and social activities to help inspire local communities, promote wellbeing, support those who are most vulnerable and stimulate the local economy,’ he added.

To find out more and donate visit the Beacon of Hope website here.

The majority of our cathedrals are now open, and open safely by adhering to the COVID Secure guidelines and been issued with the Visit Britain Good to Go charter.  But you should check their websites for more specific details. All of their websites can be found here.