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Friday, 16 November, 2001, 23:19 GMT
Vicar holds service in pub
Reverend Spittle and parishoners
Parishoners satisfied their spiritual thirst first
A Suffolk vicar has taken the word of God into pastures new with a service in a pub.

The Rev Robin Spittle, vicar of All Saints Church in Kesgrave near Ipswich, held his first service at the Farmhouse pub in the town on Sunday.

The vicar said the move was intended to "quench the spiritual thirst" of pub-goers.

The idea has won the backing of parishioners and other faiths in the town.

Stuffy image

The 1115 GMT ended when the pub opened at midday - it was in addition to a simultaneous service at the 900-year-old church

The other service was taken by Reverend Spittle's deputy.

The vicar said the sermon next to the bar would help the Church to lose its stuffy image.

"It's about taking the Christian gospel to where people are," he said.

"A church is quite an alien setting for people and you want a setting that people feel comfortable in and the pub has that sort of setting.

"It gives people the opportunity to hear the good news of the gospel and try to change people's view of the Church as being boring and staid, which it is not."

The bar was the focal point for the sermon with the style of service suited to the surroundings.

Service overflowing

"Jesus talked of life in all its fullness and the conviviality of the pub is part of that fullness.

"The service will satisfy their spiritual thirst, they can go on to satisfy their physical thirst."

The sermon was broken down into three "talks" - the vicar carried a microphone connected to the pub's public address system so he could move around.

The move was welcomed by the Reverend Jim Sayers, minister of the Baptist church in the town.

"It's a great idea," he said.

"It is one problem that we have in the church, the principle that if people are going to hear the Christian message they will come to church.

"We've got to take the church to where the people are," he said.

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