Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pubs are more important than churches

Some of you will read that post headline and think 'Doh, talk about stating the obvious'. Here's the thing though, apparently pubs up and down the country are closing, at the rate of 36 a week.

Not because we're drinking less, because we're actually drinking more. We're just drinking more at home and watching TV. Forget what this says about our nations physical health but also what it might say about any sense of community. It's dying.

Anyway, a group of our nations lawmakers are very upset about this and a House of Commons Select Committee have been saying some very strong things about the importance of the great British pub.

"The government needs to wake up to the importance of the pub," says Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland. "Instead of regarding them as businesses which can go to the wall we need to look at changing planning law to enshrine the pub. Whenever a pub is proposed to go to a different use, be closed or demolished, the local community needs to be consulted. At the end of the day, who owns the pub? Legally it's the pub operating company or the landlord. But morally, surely, a community, a village owns a pub that's been there for hundreds of years."

I can't recall anyone making such a fuss about churches that close, can you? Maybe it's because like the pub they've lost connection with the community and the community no longer cares.

In a statement the owners of a recently closed pub said, "Traditional rural pubs that are at the heart of their communities, with good, motivated licensees satisfying their customers' needs, will not only survive, but thrive." - Could the same be said for churches?


Jeremy on 25 November 2008 at 15:41 said...

I used to go to a church that met in an old pub building, posing an interesting problem of its own - where did all the regulars go when it was turned into a church building, and what became of the community around it? It dissipated and was replaced by a Christian community, I'm sad to say, something the church has realised and been working to remedy for the last ten years, although the bar hasn't yet been re-installed.

Without local shops and post offices, markets, town squares, and without church attendance, pubs are the last bastion of community interaction, gossip, and casual friendship. It would be a real shame for the last point of connection to slip away.

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