Oh Come Ale Ye Faithful to a church beer night in Sunderland

Rev Chantal Noppen, and husband Tony Harbottle-Noppen, raise a glass to the real ale event. Photo by Keith Blundy.
Rev Chantal Noppen, and husband Tony Harbottle-Noppen, raise a glass to the real ale event. Photo by Keith Blundy.
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A Sunderland vicar is aiming to brew up success by combining her love of real ale with her day job.

The Rev Chantal Noppen decided to combine two of her great passions, by holding a Beer and Hymns evening at her Wearside church.

Rev Chantal Noppen, and husband Tony Harbottle-Noppen, are on song for a good night. Photo by Keith Blundy.

Rev Chantal Noppen, and husband Tony Harbottle-Noppen, are on song for a good night. Photo by Keith Blundy.

The event will be held on Saturday evening, October 21, at St Cuthbert’s Church in Red House.

Supported by husband Tony Harbottle-Noppen, acting as MC and choir master, the newly married couple hope that their will be a new opportunity to engage with the local community and to open the church up to those who had never thought of spending an evening at an alternative local.

Chantal said: “It's a simple formula, but it works. Combining the communal singing of hymns in a church setting with the opportunity to enjoy a glass of real ale - really opens up opportunities for us to engage with the community in a different way.

“If people are invited to something that is different, and they enjoy it, their perceptions of church and Christians change. The church building in their midst becomes something more relevant to them and the relationship it produces is more personal.”

The idea of Beer and Hymns was established at Greenbelt, the annual Christian arts festival, several years ago and has since been repeated at churches across the country.

Chantal is an old hand at running such events - something she did in her last post in the Diocese of Newcastle and even at her wedding in 2016.

She said: “When we got married a little over a year ago, we had an hour or so of Beer and Hymns during the reception. We were amazed how many people raved and gushed about it afterwards as a highlight for them.

“The most common thing I hear said at these events is ‘if church was like this, I'd come...’ and I don't think this is just the beer talking, or the presence of the bar. The boundaries are able to be blurred and barriers broken down."

The first Beer and Hymns event at St Cuthbert’s Church will start at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £5 with a cash bar serving local real ales from the Sonnet 43 Brewhouse in Coxhoe as well as other alcoholic and softdrinks. All are welcome and tickets can be purchased by emailing: northwearsideparish@gmail.com.