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Equal rights

21 June 2013

"THE idea came about", the Revd Desmond Williamson (left in photo) says, "when one of the men in the congregation complained that women get flowers on Mother's Day [surely he means Mothering Sunday?], but we men don't get anything. As we discussed this, the idea for a beer swap was born."

St Mark's, Tattenham Corner, in Guildford diocese, is a joint Anglican and Methodist church, and Methodism has had a long tradition of teetotalism - but, apparently, no more. It was decided that the men of the congregation would each be asked to bring a bottle of their favourite beer or cider to the ten-o'clock service last Sunday - "Father's Day" - and place it on the altar.

During the service, Mr Williamson would ask them which their favourite beer was, and why, and, at the end, each man would be invited to take a bottle he did not bring so that he could try a new variety. And just in case some men turned up without any, ASDA would be providing a few choice bottles such as Bishop's Finger, Abbot Ale, Goliath, and Black Sheep Ale.

While the men were thinking during the service about what it meant to be a father, the children would be making Father's Day cards to present to their dads at the end of the service. I have not heard how it all went, but, judging by the early enthusiasm, it sounds like an idea that other churches might try.

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