The Church Arms

After the village pub in Mursley was boarded up in October this year, St Mary the Virgin Church, in Buckinghamshire, had the idea to set up a pop-up bar within the church building to act as a focal point for the community.

Appropriately named the Church Arms, the pop-up bar hosts two events per month for people in the village and is open to people of all faiths and none. Each event will give the community a place to meet since the pub’s closure and provide an opportunity to hear from a range of speakers. Additional events will include a village question time and an opportunity to learn about the history of Mursley. There will even be a Christmas Jog followed by fresh bacon rolls served at the church!

Andrew Cowell, churchwarden at St Mary the Virgin Church highlighted the importance of the community space:

“The boarding up of our village pub has created a significant change in the life of the village. By creating a place for the community to meet as they would usually have done at the pub, we are also raising the profile of the role of the church in the community.”

“The Church Arms acts as an enabler to further mission opportunities and to reach local people who would not usually engage with church. It is a great space for us to hold Christmas events and encourage our community to come to church and experience the gift of Jesus this Christmas.”

Listen to Andrew talking about the pop-up bar and the important community role of churches BBC Three Counties Radio on Boxing Day:

Churches across the diocese are stepping in to meet the needs of their communities. Do you have an idea for a project at your church to help engage the community? The next round of Development Fund applications closes on 31 January 2022.

St Mary’s Church is one of a number of churches across the diocese that received a grant from the Development Fund. Last year, the church received a small grant for a permanent audio-visual system. The church also raised money to install a toilet and kitchenette. These facilities have enabled the church to open the pop-up bar, provide refreshments, and host more church and community groups during the week.