September 17, 2009

Vicar sets up pub church

by David Masters

A Lancashire vicar has invited parishioners to meet him in the pub to ask spiritual questions over a pint.

Reverend Alistair McHaffie, vicar of St John’s parish in Leyland, said he set up the initiative for local people interested in religion but put off by “hymn books and hassocks”.

“We were concerned for people who have an interest in God and spiritual matters, but who would tend to seek answers anywhere but church,” McHaffie said.

“Many people with spiritual questions would not consider seeking answers in church, so we felt we needed to meet on their home ground.

“They might have questions about God, about life – about some of the deeper issues of life like forgiveness and suffering.”

A spokesperson for the Blackburn diocese said the pub church would meet to discuss issues of faith in a “relaxed atmosphere”.

“It’s church without the preaching,” he said.

“We hope the pub church will be a success and can continue it into next year.

“Already parishioners have been getting excited and said they will bring their friends.”

Regulars in the pub where the meetings are taking place were unimpressed.

“Most of the people that come in here are only concerned with the price of the beer,” one drinker said.

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