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Sunday mornings in the pub

02 November 2006

  by Margaret Duggan


THE CHURCH on the Tolladine council estate on the edge of Worcester was finished in 1940, and, “as you might expect”, says the Revd Duncan Ballard, “being built in wartime, it wasn’t the best of buildings.”


In 1980, as the congregation dwindled, “we retreated up the hall, and the rest of the building became a community centre.”


Now the far-from-prosperous estate has attracted £450,000 of government, local and Church Urban Fund money, and is to have a better church, with a community centre trebled in size.


 But it needs to be closed for six months. Having considered several alternatives, the congregation is decamping to the lounge of the Farmer’s Boy, for their sung eucharist “complete with vestments and ritual. It’s quite a rich service,” says Mr Ballard.


The pub has welcomed them with open arms. No doubt some of the congregation will stay on for opening time, “and there have already been jokes about prayer books with handles.”


But Mr Ballard says the move is taking the church to the people. There are plans for a pet-blessing service, and some bikers have asked for a wedding and a christening in the pub. Mr Ballard isn’t sure whether that will be permissible, but he is trying hard to arrange it.

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