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Church blesses fathers with beer

Thanks to SPS for the link.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/5587035/Church-blesses-fathers-with-beer.html

A senior bishop has backed the move, which is part of a Church of England initiative to put a Christian emphasis on the annual celebration of fatherhood.

Concerns over the lack of men attending services year-round has led clergy to offer a range of incentives today, including free beer, bacon rolls and chocolate bars.

It is the first time that the Church has attempted to treat Fathers' Day in the same way as Mothering Sunday, which has traditionally formed part of its calendar.

The plan to distribute ale has upset groups working to tackle alchohol abuse, but the Rt Rev John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester, said that it could help churches to attract more men.

He argued that the free beer was intended to be symbolic of "the generosity of God".

Men at St Stephen's church in Barbourne, Worcester, will be handed bottles of beer by children during the service. A prayer will be said for the fathers before the gifts are distributed.

The Ven Roger Morris, archdeacon of Worcester, who will be leading the service at St Stephen's today, said that it was a practical way of sending a message to fathers.

"I don't see any other time that we can stop and remember fathers, and this is a gesture saying 'Here's something that will bless you,'" he said.

"Posies of flowers are given to mums on Mothering Sunday and we wanted to give a laddish, blokeish gift to the men. A bottle of beer hits the mark. The whole of life is to be celebrated in church."
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