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Bath Abbey

August 30, 2013

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Bath was heaving with visitors. The Abbey is in a prime location, right next to the famous Roman Baths and the shopping area. There were several street performers around as well. Visitors obviously come from all over the world and a visit to the Abbey is part of the itinerary. The signage outside is very clear and very good. On entering there is some pressure to donate (£2.50 is suggested) but this is not unreasonable. I was handed a welcome leaflet by a professional lady, one of a team of people on duty. The leaflet is very good, giving both a plan, an outline of Jesus’ life and a time line of significant dates. All of them seemed knowledgeable and friendly. They need to be here. This is more like a cathedral than a parish church and the visitor ministry has to be well done. Tower tickets can be purchased and this is obviously popular. I saw three votive stands, all full of candles. There is also a book of remembrance for those who died in the second world war, principally in the air raids on the city. Also a display called the ‘Bath Abbey Triptyche’. This is very good. I followed two Muslim women through this who were very interested in how the Bible stories were told. There is also a history display. As well as one about what happens through the year at the Abbey. They even ask visitors to fill in a survey form – this is the first time I have seen this done. There were also some ‘The Jesus Book’, a version of Mark’s gospel for visitors.

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There were lots of visitors whilst I was there. It is a bit overwhelming. Several were chatting on phones and there isn’t much of a ‘holy’ atmosphere here. I have noted this at other very well visited churches. Perhaps not the place to come for a quiet encounter with God but I rate it as very good.

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