Gloucester Cathedral has been criticised for giving free entry to its crypt and landmark tower to people who show a National Lottery ticket or scratch card. Andrea Williams, the director of Christian Concern, says she understands that renovation costs for historic buildings are high. But she is concerned about a cathedral having links to any form of gambling. “The cathedral needs to be asking itself some tough questions in terms of where it’s seeking the money from. Let’s pray and hope that this cathedral will point to the glory of God. There’s no need for a lottery ticket.”
Theo Platt from Gloucester Cathedral defends the promotion and highlights the significant funding provided by the National Lottery. “Over the past four years, the cathedral’s benefited from a £4.2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore and develop key parts of the building. We’re participating in the #ThanksToYou campaign to show our appreciation for the support given towards this crucial work.” The cathedral’s Project Pilgrim, largely funded with Lottery money, includes work to create a new entrance and welcome area, the conservation of the 15th Century Lady Chapel and its stained glass and creating a new Cathedral Green in the centre of the city.
Andrea Williams welcomes the attempts to attract more people to the cathedral. But she believes the money to pay for the work should have been raised without involving the National Lottery. “When we really are seeking first God’s Kingdom then the reality is that money will be found. I think it’s a mark of the way that cathedrals are becoming increasingly commercial enterprises. All of this kind of stuff makes cathedrals begin to centre on business models rather than God models. This notion that a cathedral needs to be selling Lottery tickets based on gambling in order to bring the people in and in order to try to make sure that its building is made good.”
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