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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 September, 2004, 06:15 GMT 07:15 UK
Holy orders for former pub
The Reverend Ray Smith and the bar top pulpit
The pulpit was made from the bar tops of the pub
The only wet stuff now being served at a former pub once known as a trouble hot-spot is communion fruit juice, after it was converted into a church.

The Gelynog pub in Beddau near Pontypridd, closed 10 years ago after magistrates refused to grant a licence.

Members of the Elim Pentecostal Church decided it would be the perfect place to set up its place of worship.

And, after a decade of hard labour, it has finally opened its doors again.

The pub, which dated back to the 1790s, had become a well-known trouble-spot in the years before it shut, according to the Reverend Raymond Smith.

Fights were commonplace and the pub even became a venue for exotic dancing.

Gelnynog Inn before it was converted to the church
The pub was shut in 1994 after magistrates refused a licence

But the fortunes of the venue took a turn for the holier, when magistrates refused to grant the pub a licence 10 years ago.

Members of the church then decided to buy the building for 40,000.

"It was in a right mess when we first came in," said Mr Smith.

"The roof had a big hole in it where thieves had broken in to steal all the copper piping and it needed a lot of work doing to it."

But with the help of church members and people serving community service punishments, the building has been transformed into a place of worship.

You can still see the cigarette burns on it if you look carefully
The Reverend Raymond Smith

"It was a very rough pub - it was awful," explained Mr Smith.

"When we first came in here, there was a pool table which had been upended and was standing vertically.

"One of the boys doing community service told me that he had been in the pub on its last night and had thrown the table at someone and that is where it had ended up!"

The building was completely gutted during the refurbishment work, which has cost between 60,000 and 80,000.

Elim Pentecostal Church, Beddau
The building is now the Elim Pentecostal Church

But not everything from its past has been ditched - the pulpit was made from the top of the bar.

"You can still see the cigarette burns on it if you look carefully," said Mr Smith.

It is hoped venue space within the building will now be used by local community groups.




SEE ALSO:
Church pew sale boosts funds
31 Aug 04  |  Wales
Villagers mourns loss of church
05 Aug 04  |  Southern Counties


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