With church attendances in decline, many churches have come up with new and innovative ways to address the problem.
Peterborough cathedral is planning a prosecco and gin festival, whilst Norwich cathedral is installing a soft helter-skelter ride.
Nearer to home, Rochester cathedral has controversially installed a 9-hole adventure golf course in its nave.
Sponsored by the Rochester Bridge Trust and running throughout August, all the holes are bridge-themed – the windmill idea being dropped after churches were considered draughty enough without adding to the problem.
The tenuous idea, that was probably written on a beer mat, being that the congregation should reach out and “build physical and mental bridges” towards each other.
At least you’re in the right place if you want to pray your kids don’t smash their tee shot into one of the stained-glass church windows and be comforted that, if they do, they’re near a confession box to beg for forgiveness, which might exclude you from paying the expensive repair bill.
But why stop with golf? Maybe churches could build a climbing wall inside the bell tower or attach a zip wire from the spire or a bungee rope from the belfry with the marketing strapline: “Get closer to heaven.”
But surely the best way to attract people into church is to liven up and rejuvenate the service itself?
I’m not suggesting the vicar performs the service juggling candlesticks whilst balancing on a unicycle on a trapeze wire above the congregation, nor pulls the tablecloth from the altar without disturbing the wine-filled chalice, although both would be impressive.
But maybe instead of hymns being pre-chosen, he could ask the congregation to write down and suggest the hymns they’d like to individually sing and then get them up to perform them to the crowd in a karaoke style. Because church is the one place where you’re constantly forgiven for singing badly out of tune. It would get people involved and they’d be less of a disconnect.
It’s just an idea – written on a beer mat.