Auckland pub to host church services

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 10:54 31/07/2012
Beer at Church
CHEERS: Pastors Vic Francis and Calvin Culverwell in the Albany Sports Bar.

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A beer at church will put a new slant on Sunday services.

Pastors Calvin Culverwell and Vic Francis are turning Albany Sports Bar into a make-shift church, starting this Sunday.

Members of the Protestant Albany Shore Vineyard Churches have been working on the project for a year. They aim to help people reconnect with religion in a relaxed place.

The congregation can have a beer during the service, and pizza and fries would be provided.

"We like to sit down, we like to eat together, we like to have great conversations. That's a human thing but it's a Kiwi thing as well," Culverwell said.

"When I look through the Bible I see Jesus is someone who valued those things as well. So to me it seems it almost goes hand-in-hand.''

The 24-year-old Albany resident will take on the role of pastor for the new church - something he's been keen to do for his community.

"So when the doors actually opened that we could come and be in this place, I jumped on it. A bar isn't a foreign environment, it's not a hurdle.

''I think for some people to step across the threshold into a church building where there's lights and loud music, it's actually a deep breath and a jump.

''But to come into something that most New Zealanders come into once a week, it's just not that hard.''

Finding the right venue and deciding what service it would offer helped them decide on the sports bar, Francis said.

There will be no singing or sermons.

"We might be having a beer and praying for somebody who has a need and we don't see an issue with that.

"There are lots of people out there who believe in God but don't necessarily have a church. It's quite a daunting thing I think to go to a Sunday morning church."

Family churches offer youth groups and support services but a place is needed for people aged 20 to mid-30s, Culverwell said.

The Albany Sports Bar service runs on the first Sunday of every month beginning August 5 at 7pm.

The service is open to anyone over the age of 18.

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- North Shore Times

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