A statue inside St. Anthony Church in Milwaukee, WI.
Today we’ll attend Christmas Day Mass at St. Anthony’s. It’s an absolutely beautiful church.
So is this one.
St. Wulfram’s Church in Grantham, England.
Wait a minute. Do you see what I see?
You saw right.
I’m trying to imagine the reaction if my church…
…was suddenly transformed into a beer festival.
Call me old-fashioned. Straight-laced. Too strict. This is not an appropriate place to stage such an event.
A church is the House of God, designed for worshipers to gather to pray.
Church attendance is generally down. The percentage of people who claim they’re not associated with a particular religion or faith has increased over the past years. So the English church is attempting to draw more people inside, though the church leader denies it. There have to be better, more reverent ways.
The beer festival at St. Wulfram’s is a stunt, and not the only one that’s been held in the past, and more are planned in the future.
From the the Wall Street Journal:
It was the last Saturday in November and Mr. (Stuart) Cradduck, the rector of St. Wulfram’s Church in this Midlands town, was serving behind an improvised bar in the church, dressed in a black cassock and clerical collar.
For a Christmas-tree festival last year, Mr. Cradduck had an ice-skating rink installed inside St. Wulfram’s and, next year, he will put in a ski slope for toboggan runs in the 15,000-square-foot space. While many congregants love the new spirit of fun, some traditionalists question what they see as the incursion of the profane upon the sacred.
“I believe the church is about—and Christianity is about—inclusivity and welcoming people,” Mr. Cradduck said. “This building is over 1,000 years old. The bricks are soaked in prayer but actually, they’re also soaked in people’s joy and sadness and in the community. This was always a place that was the center of the community.”
During the three-day beer festival an estimated 2,000 people soaked the bricks with beer fumes. The bustle and mirth of the bar area could have been mistaken for that of a tavern, were it not for the grandeur of the stone Gothic arches, blue-painted sanctuary ceiling and intricately carved wood on all sides.
“I don’t believe in it,” said Patricia Short, 73, who was married in St. Wulfram’s almost 50 years ago. “I think church is for praying in, isn’t it?”