Page last updated at 17:12 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 18:12 UK

Cathedral planning wine bar chain

Birmingham Cathedral

Birmingham Cathedral plans to attract new worshippers by opening wine bars in the city.

The Diocese of Birmingham said it hoped selling alcohol would be one way of reaching out to the wider community.

The bars could retain a Christian message, in the form of stained-glass windows, religious-themed pictures or being decorated in "episcopal purple".

But the diocese insisted alcohol would be sold responsibly and it would not be opening a nightclub.

Peter Howell-Jones, the cathedral's assistant dean, said it was looking at "alternative ways" of engaging with people who do not normally go to the cathedral.

'Ethical' business

He said the diocese had considered opening coffee bars and restaurants as well as wine bars.

He added: "The whole thing with any alcohol sales is how you go about doing that.

"We're not going to go about opening a late night club.

"It would be in the context of a meal and that sort of thing."

He said that the bars would have a religious theme and be run as an "ethical" business, selling fair trade produce.

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