First service of HedgeChurch held in Leominster bar

First service of HedgeChurch held in Leominster bar

L-r: Hilary Coombes, pagan, the Rev Mark Townsend, Simon Mapp and Richard Britton, Christian, and Tig Savage, pagan, after the first 'Hedge-Mass' at Shooters Bar, Leominster.

L-r: Hilary Coombes, pagan, the Rev Mark Townsend, Simon Mapp and Richard Britton, Christian, and Tig Savage, pagan, after the first 'Hedge-Mass' at Shooters Bar, Leominster.

First published in News

A LEOMINSTER bar hosted its first church service last weekend.

Between 40 and 50 people attended the first "physical" meeting of the HedgeChurch at Shooters Bar on Sunday.

Designed to be a “base” between Christians who have felt marginalised and those with more pagan beliefs, the Rev Mark Townsend’s HedgeChurch has had a popular online following for years.

But recently congregation members suggested holding a service in a more “physical” place, cue Shooters Bar.

Mr Townsend, from Leominster, said: "Everybody who came was so delighted and moved by the experience. One lady, who just happened to see a couple on their way to it and decided to join them, found it especially healing. She'd been recently bereaved and it gave her a real boost of comfort and blessing. Every age was represented and most people stayed a long time afterwards for a drink and a chat.

"Wayne and Debs of Shooters, and all their staff, were so hospitable and generous. We are extremely grateful to them for allowing us to hold Mas-Church in their bar."

Mr Townsend has been an independent priest since June 2011, after he felt constrained by the Church of England.

The service at Shooters was co-lead by four other "clergy" – two Christians and two pagans.

There were three altars with candles lit and filled with symbols including a central Christian altar for the mass, a Buddha altar and a nature/druid/pagan altar.?

"I was delighted by the experience and thrilled that so many people found it beautiful. I see it as one small glimpse of how spiritual and religious traditions can co-exist and gain from light and magic from each other," Mr Townsend added.

The next service is to take place at Shooters Bar on Sunday May 4 at 10.30am.

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