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Promoting conversation and community

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Promoting conversation and community
Article date: 06 Aug 2012

A Rochester pub has become the unusual setting for an ordained minister to reach out to his local community.

The Golden Lion is the venue for a monthly ‘pub theology’ session, hosted by Rob Ryan, Ordained Pioneer Minister, Rochester Cathedral.

The group ‘beer: conversation: community’, which meets on the last Monday of every month, is for those of any faith or no faith who enjoy sitting around, eating, drinking and talking about theology, spirituality, faith and life in general.

Mr Ryan says that it gives people the chance to ask questions and to discuss any issues in which they are interested.

He told the local Kent and Sussex Courier newspaper: “I believe that there are lots of people, those with faith and those without faith, who have questions about life, faith and theology.

“They basically want a safe non-judgmental place where they chat about that. It’s there to talk, to have a laugh and to help to create a community.”

Mr Ryan, 46, transplanted the idea from Seattle, in the US, where ‘pub theology’ is common. He stresses that there is no agenda, and the discussions are generally sparked by the group – he just chips in as mediator.

Mr Ryan added: “In my experience with a church, you have got to believe what the church believes, but I think that’s the very worst version of Christianity.”

Steve Clarke, pub manager at The Golden Lion, said: “It is always well supported and we normally set aside a table for up to 12 people. Mr Ryan is never sitting there on his own.”

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