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The BBC's John THorne
helps Chris Sterry warm up for the record attempt
 real 56k

Friday, 29 June, 2001, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Vicar aims for preaching record
Rev Chris Sterry
Rev Sterry has a long night on his feet ahead of him
A vicar is attempting to make it into the Guinness Book of Records by delivering the longest sermon.

Reverend Chris Sterry, from Whalley Parish Church near Blackburn, Lancashire, hopes to raise 2,000 for church funds by preaching almost non-stop for 36 hours.

The current record for an unscripted speech is 27 hours and 30 minutes.

The marathon sermon began at 0630BST on Friday and is due to run until Saturday evening.


I am looking forward to unlimited opportunity to talk about one of my great enthusiasms

Rev Chris Sterry
Under the rules of the challenge, Rev Sterry can take a 15 minute break every eight hours but cannot pause for more than 10 seconds while speaking.

He is not allowed to repeat himself, must not talk nonsense, and two referees working four-hour shifts will ensure the rules are observed.

Refreshment is being provided by the local pub, and the vicar is counting on his local community to give him moral support.

'In the beginning...'

Rev Sterry said his sermon, on the Old Testament, would start at the beginning of Genesis.

He said: "This will be a proper sermon. I hope that those who come to listen to it will get something out of it.

"As a former lecturer on the Old Testament I am looking forward to unlimited opportunity to talk about one of my great enthusiasms."

Although quietly confident, he said his two greatest fears were that he might fall asleep or dry up while speaking.

"I hope that lots of people will come along to support me, especially in the middle of the night," said Rev Sterry.

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