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Last Updated: Monday, 20 August 2007, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Church leader quizzed by clubbers
The Archbishop at the nightclub event
The Archbishop said having a drink helped people relax
The Archbishop of Wales gave up his Sunday night to debate religion at a church meeting in a Cardiff nightclub.

Dr Barry Morgan accepted an invitation from Solace, the "church in a bar," to talk to clubbers at Dempsey's.

Around 50 people attended the question and answer discussion called Is Religion Bad? over a drink.

Afterwards Dr Morgan, who admitted he had not been a clubber in his youth, said some of the questions he faced were "quite hard-hitting".

He was invited to attend the meeting by Wendy Sanderson, an evangelist from the Church Army and the Rev James Karran, a priest at Ararat Baptist Church in Cardiff.

Ms Sanderson, 30, known as Sister Wendy in the Church Army even though she is not a nun, began her work offering spiritual support to clubbers four years ago.

Dr Morgan answering questions
If the church can reach out to people who ordinary churches can't reach then that's a very good thing
Archbishop Barry Morgan

The archbishop said he wanted to support the work the pair are doing in interesting young people in Christianity.

The church leader said he had never believed that pubs should be closed on Sundays.

"There was no drunkenness at all," said Dr Morgan. "(Being in the club) helped them relax and we talked about religion.

"Now if the church can reach out to people who ordinary churches can't reach then that's a very good thing I think."

Dr Morgan said among the group attending the debate were some people he had confirmed into the church.

But he added:"There were some people there who were certainly on the fringes, some people who professed to be atheists, some people had come from the pub downstairs."

The archbishop said the nightclub discussion, held every month in either Dempsey's or Clwb Ifor Bach, was a modern response to Christianity.

 Wendy Sanderson, an evangelist from the Church Army who runs Solace, Barry Morgan and the Reverend James Karran,
Dr Morgan said it was up to him to support the discussion's organisers

There were no nightclubs where he grew up, said Dr Morgan, but "every generation must do things in a different kind of way."

"The Church Army are very good at reaching people that other parts of the church don't reach and so it's put a church worker into the nightclubs in Cardiff and it's doing innovative work, " he said.

"And I think, therefore, my job is to try and support that and to see how it's going."

Before the debate Mr Karran said: "Our debates generate lots of interest among those who attend and can get quite heated.

"Religion is our theme this month so it's wonderful to have one of Wales' senior church leaders come and debate with our young members in such a different environment.

"We'll try and keep the music down."

Sister Wendy on club crusade
24 Sep 03 |  South East Wales

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