UK cathedral seeks to help people connect to God through helter skelter, labyrinth, yoga mats

Norwich Cathedral in this January 2007 photo.
Norwich Cathedral in this January 2007 photo. | WikiMedia Commons/Aleister Crowley

A cathedral in the U.K. has announced plans to help people connect to God through installing a helter skelter, including a labyrinth, Bible box, and yoga mats.

Norwich Cathedral announced last week that a fairground ride is to be installed inside the building in the summer of 2019, hoping to showcase the ancient space "in a new way and open up conversations about faith."

While commonly associated with the song "Helter Skelter" by The Beatles and mass murderer Charles Manson in the U.S., in England, a "helter skelter" has been a popular amusement ride since the turn of the 20th century, according to

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The cathedral's 40-foot-tall helter skelter will allow visitors to climb inside and have a look at the famous medieval roof bosses that depict stories from the Bible.

Yoga mats will be stationed for people to gaze up at the cathedral’s ceiling, while a canvas labyrinth will give visitors space to walk, reflect, and pray.

Among the other novelties, an 8ft by 8ft by 12ft "Bible Box" will offer people the chance to literally sit inside a Bible and read it in a new way.

“A cathedral may not be the natural home of a helter skelter but that is precisely part of the draw," said Rev. Canon Andy Bryant, canon for mission and pastoral care at the cathedral.

“We will be doing what cathedrals have always done: helping people see things differently and make connections with the things of God," he added.

Bryant continued: “The helter skelter and all the other activities will be a way for visitors old and new to explore Norwich Cathedral in an entirely unique way and we hope people of all ages will enjoy taking part in the Seeing It Differently project.”

The initiative, called "Seeing It Differently," will run at Norwich Cathedral from August 7 to 18.

Several U.K. cathedrals and churches have opened their spaces recently to extra-curricular projects, from movies to fashion-shows, some which have drawn criticism.

Earlier in 2018, Derby Cathedral allowed a local cinema to screen horror/thriller films such as "The Wicker Man" and "Don't Look Now," which contained scenes depicting graphic sex, full female nudity and human sacrifice. Critics suggested that such scenes are inappropriate to be shown inside a church.

The Very Rev. Stephen Hance, the Dean of Derby Cathedral, argued that the movies weren't "showing God anything that He hasn't seen before."

"They are actually really powerful stories about faith and doubt and some of the things people wrestle with," Hance said.

In 2017, St. Andrew's Church in Holborn, which was founded 1,000 years ago, was used by a Turkish fashion designer as a runway for a modeling show that featured outfits with demonic symbolism, including inverted crosses and devil horns.

A spokesman for the church said at the time that St. Andrew's agreed to the booking as it has always supported London Fashion Week, but was not aware of the satanic-themed content that was to be featured.

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