Outrage Over Church with Bar and ‘Beer on Tap’

A church has divided its faithful flock after installing a bar to serve beer to festival-goers over the next few weeks.

St Ia’s Church in St Ives is serving up pints from their two newly installed taps as attendees of a two-week music festival begin. The Grade-1 listed building installed a pair of pumps and a wooden bar to provide on-tap pints. But the decision to fit the 600-year-old place of worship with beer kegs has split those in the area, with some believing a church is not the best place to get into the festival mood.

Reverend Nick Widdows, the vicar at the Parish Church, explained: “We’ve had this bar constructed, partly for coffee on Sunday, but also, for when we run events. St Ives Brewery has kindly come in and installed these beer pumps for us, so we can serve drinks as well for when people come in for concerts and choirs and various other events that we run here.

“We got a local carpenter, Joel, to come in and create this for us, and he’s done a beautiful job. I think the highest compliment we could pay him is that it looks like it has always been here. It’s a fantastic piece of local craftmanship that he’s done for us.”

The church has run a “makeshift” sort of bar in the past, serving up plenty of booze to passing festival-goers. Their two tipples on tap are joined by a nice selection of water and wine, with the bar backdrop making use of the historic 1831 pipe organ, CornwallLive reported. Rev Nick has admitted that the decision to fit a bar in time for the festival has divided those in the area.

He added: “People always have different opinions, so you’re never going to do anything that’s new that is universally welcomed and accepted. And a few of our congregation are not particular fans of the beer pumps, especially, but they are only temporary.

“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.”

St Ives September Festival, which runs from September 9 to 23, has live music most evenings playing at the St Ia’s Church, where pints are now pulled behind the controversial bar.

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