(Photo: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)
Most Christians are familiar with the biblical story of Jesus turning water into wine, but now two New Zealand pastors are seeking to turn a pub into a church complete with beer-drinking during the gatherings.
Pastors Calvin Culverwell and Vic Francis will officially turn Albany Sports Bar in Auckland, New Zealand into a house of worship on Sunday. After the initiative was in the works for a year, the Albany Sports Bar will officially serve as a church on the first Sunday of each month beginning on Aug. 5.
While some people may raise their eyebrows at the Protestant Albany Shore Vineyard Church's notion, Culverwell said the bar could serve as a more comfortable place of worship for some than traditional churches could.
''So when the doors actually opened that we could come and be in this place, I jumped on it. A bar isn't a foreign environment, it's not a hurdle," the pastor said in an Auckland Now report. ''I think for some people to step across the threshold into a church building where there's lights and loud music, it's actually a deep breath and a jump. But to come into something that most New Zealanders come into once a week, it's just not that hard.''
While the sports bar service will not contain any sermons or singing, Francis said it will serve as both a place of prayer and a place to grab a beer.
''We might be having a beer and praying for somebody who has a need and we don't see an issue with that," Francis said in the Auckland Now report. "There are lots of people out there who believe in God but don't necessarily have a church. It's quite a daunting thing I think to go to a Sunday morning church."
Culverwell spoke about the bar being a place of worship specifically for people in their 20s and 30s, while allowing anybody over 18 into its doors for the monthly service. The 24-year-old will pastor the services that he said will reflect the values of Jesus and the lifestyle of the locals around the bar.
''We like to sit down, we like to eat together, we like to have great conversations. That's a human thing but it's a Kiwi thing as well,'' Culverwell said. ''When I look through the Bible I see Jesus is someone who valued those things as well. So to me it seems it almost goes hand-in-hand.''