Church services held at the local pub

Pastor Rob Guinney (front) at The Rossall Tavern, with church members Joe Dulson, Anne Carlos, Ted Hackett, Rosalind Hackett, Susan Finnigan, Jason Connolly, Donna Connolly and Mick Wright.

Pastor Rob Guinney (front) at The Rossall Tavern, with church members Joe Dulson, Anne Carlos, Ted Hackett, Rosalind Hackett, Susan Finnigan, Jason Connolly, Donna Connolly and Mick Wright.

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HOLY communion usually involves the drinking of red wine, but it’s not often received from behind a bar.

However, one congregation in Fleetwood is set to broaden its appeal by hosting services in a town pub.

The Emmanuel Church says due to its expanding numbers, it needs to find alternative venues for worship and has formed the Emmanuel Church West - with the aim of taking its message into the community.

And the Rossall Tavern, on Larkholme Parade, is just one of a number of places set to host services.

Rob Ginney, associate minister of the church, said: “We’ve got a nice problem in that our congregation is growing.

“We’re hoping to attract others so it’ll grow even more.

“The bar will be closed though.”

The present Emmanuel church, on Lofthouse Way, currently struggles to hold much of its congregation and it is hoped the pub will provide a larger space for people to pray.

As part of its ministry, the church will also hold regular services in its members’ own homes and Mr Ginney added he hopes to see “a little church on every corner” in future.

He added: “Increasingly I think church is not something people are familiar with and going into that environment is off-putting some people, so this is going to be one less barrier.”

The first public meeting of the new church will take place at the Rossall Tavern on Easter Sunday, March 31, at 10am.

ALCOHOL AND CHRISTIANITY – A LONG HISTORY

• Perhaps most notably the first miracle performed by Jesus was to transform water into wine at a wedding.

• Chapter 20 of the Book of Proverbs in The Bible states: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

• In medieval times monks were renowned brewers of beer and wine - including a certain Dom Pierre Perignon.

• This tradition continues today – monks from the Trappist order set up their own trade association to prevent non-monastic breweries fraudulently using the Trappist name.

• The popularity of whisky in Scotland is credited to friars - who spread not just the word of God, but also the secrets of fermentation 500 years ago.

• But many denominations such as the Salvation Army, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Amish and the Mormons require members to be teetotal.

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