UK Fathers Lured to Church By Booze and Bacon Rolls
Telegraph News Paper Report:
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Published: 9:00PM BST 20 Jun 2009
Bottles of beer will be given to fathers who attend church, in an alternative “blessing” for Father’s Day.
“A senior bishop has backed the move, which is part of a Church of England initiative to put a Christian emphasis on the annual celebration of fatherhood. Concerns over the lack of men attending services year-round has led clergy to offer a range of incentives today, including free beer, bacon rolls and chocolate bars.
It is the first time that the Church has attempted to treat Fathers’ Day in the same way as Mothering Sunday, which has traditionally formed part of its calendar. The plan to distribute ale has upset groups working to tackle alchohol abuse, but the Rt Rev John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester, said that it could help churches to attract more men. He argued that the free beer was intended to be symbolic of “the generosity of God”.Men at St Stephen’s church in Barbourne, Worcester, will be handed bottles of beer by children during the service. A prayer will be said for the fathers before the gifts are distributed.
The Ven Roger Morris, archdeacon of Worcester, who will be leading the service at St Stephen’s today, said that it was a practical way of sending a message to fathers. “I don’t see any other time that we can stop and remember fathers, and this is a gesture saying ‘Here’s something that will bless you,’” he said.
However, Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, criticised the Church, claiming that it was acting irresponsibly. “Bearing in mind the country is facing rising health harms from its high level of alcohol consumption, anyone in a position of authority or respect should perhaps think twice about promoting alcohol to the public,” he said”.