One of the oldest Anglican churches in England has come under scrutiny after installing a miniature golf course inside to attract visitors. Located 30 miles from London, the Rochester Cathedral in Kent was established in 1066, replacing a previous church that had been build in the 7th century. During that time, it was the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin.
Today, the central space where people worship has been transformed into a nine-hole miniature golf course. Each hole features a model of a famous bridge, such as the Roman bridge in Rochester and the Queen Elizabeth II in Dartford.
Funded by the Rochester Bridge Trust, the goal of the program is to teach young adults about infrastructure and engineering. According to the Bridge Trust manager Andrew Freeman, “It’s the ideal opportunity to reach out to the community and get families and young people thinking about bridges while they have fun.”
Spokesperson Rev. Rachel Phillips further explained that the golf course would “reflect on the bridges that need to be built in their own lives and in our world today.” However, some critics believe that the course isn’t right to have in a place of worship. Having been ordained in the Cathedral, Father David Palmer refers to it as an “embarrassing shambles.”
Bishop Gavin Ashenden also condemns the course, stating, “The idea that people are so trivial that they can be almost tricked into a search for God by entertaining them with a golf course is a serious-category error.”
The course opened on August 1, 2019, and will remain open for the foreseeable future. However, the game will not be available for use during church services.