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Beer will help on Fathering Sunday

by Bill Bowder

ON FATHER’S DAY (20 June), say it with a bottle of beer, the Bishop of Worcester suggested this week, as the Church of England’s website chal­lenged congregations to “think again” if they ignore the day.

Among liturgical material on a new section of the website, one suggestion is that fathers should be given a gift in the middle of the service after the intercessions. “This element of the service needs to be conducted with sensitivity.”

The Bishop, Dr John Inge, said on Tuesday: “There were some com­plaints last year when the Arch­deacon of Worcester suggested a can of beer, but I can say with some confidence that a bottle of beer went down very well last year with those who received it.”

In the service, a new father could also be asked to “describe the difference being a father has made to his life and his faith”. The Ten Commandments could be included “for their reference to ‘obeying your father and mother’”. Another sug­gestion is to invite “someone to share (sensitively) their experience of having a father who let them down badly, and the difference that knowing God’s love has made to them”.

A new prayer for children calls on God to help fathers be patient, strong, wise, and loving.

It is “crucial” to pray for fathers, Dr Inge writes in an article on the site: “How they manage their re­sponsibility will have a very big impact upon the future of children — and of our society.”

A church spokesman said: “Some churches seem to reject Father’s Day outright with vigour; so we’re challenging parishes to think again.”

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