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Church in Cornwall slammed for installing beer pumps

A church in Cornwall has had beer pumps installed to serve local beer, dividing the congregation in opinion over the decision.

According to local reports, the installation of a bar inside St la’s Church in St Ives has been branded an act that “desecrates” the church and has been slammed by outraged churchgoers who are furious over two beer pumps now being housed inside the 600-year-old Grade I listed building.

The move, which is to assist the church in hosting a two-week music and arts festival which attracts thousands of visitors to the seaside town, was made by St Ives Brewery and was made to serve drinks to crowds if needed.

Long-standing member of the congregation Barry Lewis said to put a bar in the church “desecrates the memory of those who died for their faith” and added that “for over 600 years, since it was first consecrated, the church has been the outward and visible sign of the spiritual grace granted to us through the martyrdom of St Ia and others in the town”.

One of the issues that has also rankled locals is that the church has allowed “the current vicar to be photographed pulling pints wearing vestments usually worn when celebrating the Eucharist (Holy Communion),” said Lewis, who described the marketing of the bar as “simply intolerable” and asserted: “I know that many of the congregation will agree with my comments.”

Churchgoer Angela Homer said she was quite shocked to find a bar inside the church and told reporters: “I must confess that I visited this church for the first time last week after visiting St Ives for more than 30 years. It is a beautiful church but it was quite a shock when I saw the bar. I immediately thought, ‘well, maybe it will encourage more people to attend’. Who knows.”

Despite the unease among the community, Reverend Nick Widdows defended his decision and insisted it is only a temporary measure and explained: “People always have different opinions, so you’re never going to do anything that’s new that is universally welcomed and accepted. A few of our congregation are not particular fans of the beer pumps, especially, but they are only temporary.”

He added: “What I say to them is that this is just part of our way of welcoming all sorts of people into the church. Above all, we want people to come in and have a positive experience of their time here. Many people don’t come into the church building at all, and actually, if people come in and have a great time at a festival event, then who knows, maybe they’ll come in for something else as well when we put it on.”

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