Anglican Wine Bars .. No, it’s true!

2 09 2008

We take a break from talking about politics and wincing at the theology of Southern Gospel to bring you this important announcement from the UK’s Telegraph … Graphic shamelessly stolen from Dr.Vino, to whom I am also giving a hat-tip….

Cathedral Turns to Wine Bars to Woo New Business

Now you can go to church, have coffee hour AND have brunch all in the same place! I hope someone told Dennis

Dr. Vino writes, “If you’ve wanted to work for the Church of England but have felt constrained by the whole clergy thing, Birmingham Cathedral in England may have just the position for you: sommelier.

Excerpts from The Telegraph say (emphasis mine, click on the link above for the whole article.

The first “director of hospitality and welcome” at an English cathedral has unveiled far-reaching plans to make its operations more business-like……His plans, revealed today, include a chain of city-centre wine bars and “loyalty cards” for regular worshippers to obtain discounts at the cathedral’s shops.  The new appraoch to attracting and retaining worshippers could become a blueprint for dioceses across the countr.  The wine bars would feature stained-glass windows, pictures on a religious theme and be decorated in “episcopal purple”.

Staff would have to be sympathetic to Christianity and times of cathedral services would be posted on the walls.  Mr Hope-Urwin said: “We’re not trying to encourage drinking, but the cathedral has to engage more with the city and find ways of meeting people on their territory.

“Cathedral wine bars should be seen as a potential commercial operation with profits going into the upkeep of the building and paying for evangelistic work… People have all kinds of distractions in their busy lives and at the moment too many just see the cathedral as a big brick monolith. That has to change if we are to bring people in.”

Except for the whole loyalty card business, this actually sounds kind of fun.

Oh! Oh! and wait!  There’s a traditional “orthodox” nay-sayer just waiting in the wings to point out just one more way the God’s Church is going to hell in a handbasket.

The Rev David Phillips, the general secretary of the Church Society, a traditionalist group, said: “Opening wine bars doesn’t seem an appropriate way to generate money.

“People who attend church should give more so that this doesn’t have to happen. The idea of the Church getting involved with selling alcohol will worry people.”

Oh, for the love of Mike … whatEVER Rev. Phillips.

Now here’s the fun part … Let’s come up with fun names for our favourite vintages at the church pub wine bar.  How about “De Vine and De Branch?”

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4 responses

3 09 2008
Jarred

This is one of those things that I personally have mixed feelings about.

On the one hand, I totally get what they’re trying to do here. They’re trying to move the faith out into the rest of people’s lives. They’re trying to create an atmosphere where people can enjoy themselves and still find themselves in a somewhat religious setting. There’s a lot to be said for such an approach. And I certainly don’t have The Reverend Phillips’s hang-up about the alcohol.

But at the same time, there’s just something about this whole set-up that leaves me feeling like it’s a good idea executed in a less than ideal way. Maybe it’s the loyalty cards. Maybe it’s the fact that the mention of shops and discounts immediately brings images of all the “Jesus junk” I’ve seen at the Christian stores around here which cater to the evangelical crowd. I don’t know.

In the end, I suppose the best thing to do is to give it a whirl and see what happens. But at the same hand, I hope someone is thinking these things through and keeping an eye out that this venture actually serves its intended purpose.

3 09 2008
John-Julian, OJN

Well, in my long lifetime I’ve attended more than one piss-elegant parish which included sherry at coffee hour!

And a name? “Apres la Masse”? or “Deuxieme cru”?

3 09 2008
FranIAm

Fascinating…

4 09 2008
Doorman-Priest

Why do I find this funny?

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