REVELLERS could be forgiven for thinking they’d had ‘one too many’ on stumbling across the sight of bouncers outside a Chester city centre church on a Saturday night.
But the surreal image is very much the reality at St Peter’s Church once a month, although there are no plans to compete with the likes of RBs or Cruise.
Night Church is open for people to come in, relax, sober up, ask questions and find Christianity in unexpected circumstances.
A recent Saturday saw more than 200 people visit the ancient building, by The Cross, lit with the equivalent of a dimmer switch to create a relaxed atmosphere.
Entertainment came in the form of an up-beat band. And there were friendly volunteers on hand for a chat, plus soft drinks and refreshments. Doorman Jamie Edwards, 39, kept a watchful eye over proceedings but there have been no issues of concern.
The Night Church trial is the brain-child of Gill Reeve of Christian charity The Light Project in partnership with St Peter’s.
Gill said: “There are three key aims for me. It’s about being a welcoming and safe place; a place of hospitality with tea and coffee and a place where people can sit and enjoy the space and a place of spirtuality where people can pray and sit quietly within a church setting.”
Night Church volunteer Jess Selemic, said: “There is a barrier between people and the church, our aim is to break down the barriers.”
Jess and the other volunteers spent the night talking to people who were simply interested in the project or in some cases upset or lonely.
One of the volunteers spoke of a man living in a homeless shelter at the beginning of January. After appearing at the Night Church every month and asking people to pray for him, he now has a new home and a job. He believes this is directly linked to the support he received at Night Church.
Chester students Jessica Dodd and Liana Barnes, both 21, were on a night out celebrating and initially apprehensive when approached by Night Church helpers.
“I haven’t had a good relationship with the Church before, but it was a great place to go” said Jessica. “I definitely felt more welcome in a church environment than I expected.”
Night Church opens its doors on the second Saturday of every month from 10pm to 2am.