Church minister spreading the word – down at the local

By MATTHEW GOODING A CHURCH minister is hoping the gather a new congregation - in village pubs. The Rev Simon Chambers, priest in charge of St. Mary s Church, Ashwell, has been spending Thursday evenings chatting to patrons of the pubs about theological

By MATTHEW GOODING

A CHURCH minister is hoping the gather a new congregation - in village pubs.

The Rev Simon Chambers, priest in charge of St. Mary's Church, Ashwell, has been spending Thursday evenings chatting to patrons of the pubs about theological issues.

He said: "I got the idea from a priest, Bob Naylor, who I used to work with when I was a curate in Dorset.


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"He used to get together with people in the pubs of Lolworth Cover, where we were based. He'd talk about anything and everything to do with Christianity and the church, and I thought it was a brilliant idea.

The Rev Chambers, who was ordained in 2002, has been in Ashwell for the past two years.

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He started the pub visits just after Easter, and they have proved to be popular.

"Residents have been receptive," he said. "We discuss all things ecclesiastical, but people seem most keen to find out about are the mechanics of the church.

"A lot of people think vicars are stuffy and unapproachable and this is something I want to change.

"Ashwell is unique in the sense that the church is very much a focal point for the village.

"The church tower is an iconic image and most residents have at least some involvement with the church.

"I don't think I've changed any lives yet, but that's not really the plan. The aim is to meet people where they are, that's what Jesus did after all."

Claire Stanley, landlady of the Three Tuns pub in Ashwell, said: "Simon is a star and we all love him.

"He's making a difference in the village through these visits and his other work with the community.

"It's good to have a vicar who is so approachable, particularly for the young people.

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