Bishop Auckland, a sleepy town undergoing revival, is home to Britain’s first museum of faith

by | Oct 9, 2023 | Religion

BISHOP AUCKLAND, England (RNS) — The town’s name is a reminder of its history as the county seat of the bishop of Durham, one of England’s most powerful clerics. But by the end of the last century, Bishop Auckland had become a shadow of its former self, with shops on its main street boarded up, the nearby coal pits closed down and work hard to come by. But now a remarkable experiment is underway — to revive the fortunes of this northern England town through a combination of art and religion. And the final piece in its regeneration — a Faith Museum — opened its doors for the first time Saturday (Oct. 7).Britain has plenty of medieval cathedrals and ancient monuments, but the Faith Museum is the first of its kind solely dedicated to telling the story of the country’s religious faith. And it is a dramatic story — tumultuous, often violent and always tied closely to the country’s own identity and place in the world. The museum has items highlighting the birth of Christianity under Roman rule, the power of the medieval monasteries, the polarizing effects of the Reformation, the growth of dissenting Christian traditions, the challenge of science to faith a …

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