The Christian Church is frequently accused of being stuck in a rut and lacking imagination when it comes to ways of getting its message across. The congregations of many traditional churches are dwindling as people either drift away entirely or shift to other churches which offer a more dynamic form of worship.

So all credit then to the Reverend Robin Gamble, Bradford Diocese's evangelism advisor, for his latest proposal to turn a former working men's club in New Otley Road into a Christian pub.

He and the consortium he heads aim to offer the usual pub facilities. They have overcome any reservations they might have had about a licensed bar and would also offer dominoes, pool, darts.

But on top of that they would have employees specially trained to listen to problems, discuss Christian issues, and pray with customers.

This is not the first time that Robin Gamble has gone out on a limb to be different. He has made quite a name for himself through his use of rock music to take the Gospels to Bradford congregations. He would probably not object to being referred to as a character.

There is little doubt that his more dynamic approach has helped to get the Church's message across to younger people who would otherwise stay well away from more conservative services. The pub project is an extension of that approach.

It is an interesting and imaginative idea. Whether enough people consider it to be viable to invest as shareholders and make the £125,000 bid possible remains to be seen.

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