The village, on the Roseland Peninsula just outside Truro in Cornwall, UK, was one of the places that hooked up with the service that the Beeb broadcast across its stations in Cornwall, Devon and the Channel Islands as well as streaming on the Internet.
Between 60 and 70 people were at the King’s Arms, Tregony, and others had telephoned Darren, the landlord, to say that they would have been there except for the icy roads. They sang carols, built up a nativity scene, wrote prayers on star-shaped Post-It Notes and heard about the real message of Christmas from a range of snapshot interviews.
Before the service, reporter Denis Nightingale did some live on-air interview with parish church member Jenny Deal, who is a regular at the Sunday night pub quiz; Gwen Booth, who was a member in the village Methodist Church before it shut; myself; Penny Mergler, who chairs the governors at the Roseland School and also is a leading member of the Clockhouse Players (the panto society); and Steve Bowyer, who runs a holiday business in the area and plays the cowardly lion in next year’s panto The Wizard of Oz.
The reaction after the service was incredibly positive. Landlord Darren wanted to book for 2010 straight away!
To those who feel that churches ought not to be in pubs, here was the proof that they should. Most of the people in the King’s Arms would never go to church, even for a carol service, but they heard a Gospel message last night in a setting that was comfortable, welcoming and fun.