The Evangelical Universalist Forum

"Pub Churches"

The subject of “Pub churches” came up recently in the slavery thread with several of us (Kate, Stefcui and myself) expressing interest in this. I know Andrew and Dick have experiences with ‘pub churches’ and thought it might be worthwhile to start a thread so we can learn what their experiences (and those of anyone else) were like, what role they see pub churches filling, good things and bad things about this type of fellowship etc. I have no personal experience with ‘pub churches’ but am intrigued to say the least. (It might just be the thought of beer, but I hope it’s more than that) :smiley:

Merry Christmas (for those of you who celebrate) and Happy Winter Solstice! (for the rest of you lot) :laughing:

Ok Steve - here is my memoir about the Pub church I accidentally started. I no longer have anything much to do with the group but was asked to write a memoir account this year to celebrate their anniversary. The church which was host to the idea has moved on I think - but it was concerned/hospitable at the time.



No fair, Dick – you forgot to link the memoir. :frowning:

I think a pub church has the capacity to break down negative christian stereotypes and the natural aversion people have to institutions. I am not favorable of a drunk-fest; but people in a pub setting are naturally given to ponder philosophy. Give 'em a few beers and everyone knows the meaning of life. :laughing:

Also, many people in pubs, by and large, the regulars, are there because they are healing memories, or reflecting on memories, or seeking to have some banter with someone about fixing what’s wrong with the world. It opens up a unique opportunity to reach the unreachable. I think those involved in ministry need more than the usual wisdom and giftings. It is probably a ministry that could destroy even the most devout of ministers. Not for everyone I would imagine!

Hi Cindy,
I (miraculously) have the Thanks, Dick, :smiley: having read this earlier, I wonder what role you think pub churches like this fill? Is this something that should be more widespread or just a sort of ‘half-way house’ on the road to traditional churches?

Hi Stef,
Good thoughts here! :smiley:

All the best,

[tag]WE ARE ALL BROTHERS[/tag], we want you on this thread! :slight_smile:

I love the idea of a pub church, and I wonder what that would look like. I was involved for several years with a group of people who met from house to house, and I can tell you that it is not easy. It isn’t that we had trouble getting along, but the glitch always was that people simply are not used to, do not have time to, aren’t into (fill in the blank) preparing something to share every week or even most weeks. Somehow it usually turns out to be kind of strained and, well, boring. For us, it didn’t work, and early this summer we kind of fell apart. No fights or anything, but people just wanted to do other things. All the rest have gone off to institutional churches but I can’t do that – attend the church show every week. I used to love it, but now I don’t relate to that any more. For me it’s all about the fellowship and I haven’t been able to find that in institutional churches.

Reading about the pub church, I find myself thinking, “Maybe that could work.” I do think you’d need a leader though. Americans do not do well without a leader – or that’s my experience. Maybe we SHOULD be able to do that, but I think in the name of reasonable-sized baby steps, we actually do need a leader. Not a despot and not someone who is responsible for all the work of the church by any means – that’s too much for anyone whether paid or unpaid – but a leader to inspire and, well, lead. I would be very, very interested to learn what this pub church looks like. Is it basically church in a pub, with a sermon and songs and perhaps an offering? Or is it more like what Stef was talking about – getting together to study the word? Or is it something else again?

In my experience it hasn’t worked to simply get together and wait for “something” to happen. Maybe it WOULD work with a different group of people, but it most definitely did not work for us. It also didn’t work to make a plan – to have a theme to which everyone was asked to bring a contribution. People don’t want to do that – they just don’t. What’s more, they won’t. They bring food for the body faithfully (we always ate together) but not food for the spirit. Or well, a couple of people brought the things they had from God, but then it gets to be a 2-3 person show and you hate to keep being the only one who has something to talk about. You start feeling like a pastor. I’m not sure how to do this, and I’ve been trying for quite a long time now. Any suggestions would be very welcome.

Love, Cindy

As a milk and apple juice kind of girl, I can say that I like the idea of a pub church for its hospitality and comfortable atmosphere, rather than just the drinks. I think a lot of people would be more apt to attend a pub church, because the idea of unwelcoming wooden pews, stained glass, and a lofty preacher of the pulpit puts people off to the idea of “church.”

I currently consider myself a member of the “Church of the Flowers,” because I see God best in nature. So I could see myself a happy member at the “Church of the Barstool,” as well. :smiley:

A book I really enjoyed: Why men Hate going to church I dont believe Pub churches were talked about, but the church of the trees was. :slight_smile: … _to_Church

Memoir -


Looks like you’re on to something,Dave. :smiley: Read some of the reviews of the book and a pub-church seems like a great way to get men more involved (speaking as someone with the Y chromosome).

I feel like a “pub church” would work with us here, but the pesky Atlantic Ocean and Rocky Mountains, among other things, make this quite impossible. I wish virtual technology was just a bit better. I picture us all signing onto one “channel” – like Skype but for many people rather than just two – and meeting for a little virtual “pub” church service. We could even all sip our own favorite drinks.:slight_smile:

Just wishful thinking – but I do so wish I could meet you all face-to-face, and even be lucky enough to exchange smiles once a week. (As fun as virtual “smilies” are, real smiles would be nice now and then, too.) And, Dick, you could lead the worship songs with your harmonica and your spoons.:slight_smile:



Thanks, Dick! What a great memoir. It sounds a fascinating and amazing journey. I had no idea – it’s too bad we don’t all know a little more about one another.

Yeah, it looks like a good read, Dave. I think this is the type of thing that is lacking from the vision and comprehension of the modern churches. They are so archaic to be insulting. Most non-church people will readily tell you this; but those who join the church like it is a Star Trek convention there is no getting through to. Once the church blinders are on; that’s it! :laughing:

I really like this idea, Kate!
I’m sure Alex would know how to use technology to do this. :smiley: We could even take our computers to our local pub (or McDonald’s in your case :laughing: ) and have a get together, each at our own pub. Might get some strange looks from the other patrons, though. :confused:

:laughing: I would definitely have to take mine somewhere. Skype/Go To Meeting doesn’t work for me :frowning: connection is too slow.

Another great idea Steve and Kate! Get coding Alex!

I have been totally ignorant. One cannot “love the idea of a pub church” if one has no idea as to what you guys are talking about. I have been following the thread hoping that someone would define “pub church” but no cigar.

I speculated that “pub” is an abbreviation for “public”. Okay—“public church”. But that can’t be it. Nearly all churches are public and welcome the public.

Oh, just a minute (I thought) A pub is a public drinking place. Is a “pub church” a church that meets in a pub and has a few beers or glasses of wine while listening to the sermon? But that seems ludicrous! Finally I looked “pub church” up in Wikipedia, and found that my last guess was fairly close (minus the booze).

I think you’re fairly close, Paidion. I too want to know more. From looking at the church’s website it looks as though the main activity may be listening to a sermon, but I can’t tell for sure. In that case, I think the idea is to meet in a public place (it doesn’t have to be a pub – it might be a coffee house or a diner or a cafe, etc. and indeed the name of the thing on the website is actually Cafe Church) so as to (a) be out where they can be seen and perhaps draw the interest of other customers and/or (b) meet in a neutral location so that the unchurched will feel more at ease – being able to walk in and out if desired without appearing disrespectful, relatively sure things won’t get too “weird,” in a location (or at least a type of location) in which they already feel comfortable. If I’m wrong or (as is likely the case) missing something, maybe [tag]WE ARE ALL BROTHERS[/tag] (that is to say, Andrew) will be along to correct me.

It doesn’t seem a ludicrous idea to me at all. Try getting some un-churched friend to attend at your meetings and you’ll probably see what I mean. At least for me, this attempt has been largely unfruitful. I guess to me, the idea of all the members being actively involved (or potentially actively involved) would be the real draw, as I believe the idea of silently listening and perhaps singing along with the specified songs, for the majority of the body is sad. We are all supposed to be reflecting Jesus, and that is not only in the world but especially in the body. Or in your congregation’s case, at the least all the males ought to be doing that – and maybe they are – but that is not the case with most congregations in the USA. If the Cafe Church is nothing more than church-as-usual but held in a cafe, I’d be less than enthusiastic unless that’s a stepping stone for a wider involvement – sort of a halfway house to participative gatherings. I have a sort of idea there’s at least SOMETHING else different about it aside from the meeting place, but we don’t know that yet.

Love, Cindy

Cindy, I didn’t mean meeting in a public place per se seemed ludicrous. What seemed ludicrous to me was my thought that a “pub church” might be “a church that meets in a pub and has a few beers or glasses of wine while listening to the sermon.” I just couldn’t conceptualize church members drinking booze while listening to a sermon. So I considered my imagined concept to be ludicrous, and that I must look for a different definition of “pub church”. That’s when I looked up “pub church” in Wikepedia, and the first sentence was the definition:

Now I visualized a church meeting in a pub, but its members NOT consuming booze while the church service was going on. That idea didn’t seem a bit ludicrous.