Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 16:08 UK

Church applies for drinks licence


The church has links with Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr

A vicar is to apply for a drinks licence so he can sell wine and beer at his small village church.

The Reverend Geraint ap Iorwerth could be made licensee of St Peter ad Vincula Church in Pennal, near Machynlleth, close to the Powys-Gwynedd border.

He joked that there were plans to serve more than just spirits, though, with lager and wine on the menu too.

Mr ap Iorwerth said he might also open a bar with proper pub-style pumps in a new church cafe in the future.

But at the moment the licence is needed to sell and serve drinks at parish functions such as concerts, weddings or christenings.

The vicar will go to magistrates' court next month to apply for the licence.

Mr ap Iorwerth said: "It is quite common for larger churches and cathedrals to apply for a licence, and we want to make sure we are within the law.

St Peter ad Vincula Church in Pennal
I would love to think that at certain times of the year people could come down in the evening to have a drink
The Reverend Geraint ap Iorwerth

"We have plans to serve lager and red and white wine - that is what the average punter wants."

He added: "We also want to serve drinks at a cafe at the rear of the church.

"We have also received requests from people planning weddings who would like drinks and canapés after their service and before the reception.

"It would be nice to serve drinks at concerts, Christmas and New Year's Eve too.

"A small bar is a possibility. I would love to think that at certain times of the year people could come down in the evening to have a drink."

'Sharing bread'

Earlier this month, the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan told a conference in Llandudno that churches should "think creatively" about facilities.

The Church in Wales said St Peter ad Vincula Church had a gallery cafe so the licence would enable it to serve alcohol to customers.

"The Church in Wales welcomes initiatives such as this which encourage people to come to churches and to see them as places where they can relax, socialise and share food and drink," said a spokeswoman.

"Indeed, sharing bread and wine is an essential part of the Christian ministry.

"We see alcohol, taken in moderation and used responsibly, as something to enjoy with others."

But Carol Bodza of Glansychan stores and off-licence and Susan Crossley of the Riverside Hotel in Pennal, oppose Mr ap Iorwerth's plans.

Mrs Bodza said: "We have no objection to the cafe, but I don't see why he (Mr ap Iorwerth) needs to apply for a licence to sell alcohol.

"Both our off-licence and the hotel is less than 100 yards away from the church and we feel this could affect our business."

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