Want to commune with God over a pint? On the first Friday of each month between 9p.m. and midnight customers at the Market Cross Pub in Carlisle, PA will be able to do just that thanks to a rather unique outreach program set up by Bethel Assembly of God Church senior pastor Chuck Kish. Through this new monthly ministry, Rev. Chuck hopes to offer inspiration beyond that found in the bottom of a glass, and alternative solutions to those that might otherwise try drinking their troubles away.
"He approached me on the idea about a month, a month and a half ago, and I kind of did a double-take on it," said bar owner Jeff Goss in an interview with the local Sentinal newspaper. "Once we started talking about it, I realized what a great idea it was. I'm sort of an internal optimist. Working here for 14 years, I've seen customers, regulars and employees who have had their ups and downs through life."
"There was a lady at one of the bars who was married for 30 years and her husband just up and left her, and she was there about to drink herself into oblivion," explains Rev. Chuck. "The bartender said before she could do that, maybe she'd like to talk to the chaplains. It was a sort of pilot thing for us, and we were able to give help in a very tangible way. That's when I realized, you know, this is going to work."
It could be argued that the warm, friendly, and intimate atmosphere of a pub is far more conducive to confession and communion than the chilly atmosphere of many churches. Certainly the location seems more appealing than that of Rev. Chuck's bricks and mortar church, which is located five miles out of town on State Route 34 next to the Graham Cadillac dealership and Merrick and Fair Performance Dealership.
Rev. Chuck plans to make sure there's at least one male and one female pastor on hand to serve those in need, and he promises they'll be no preaching or proselytizing at the bar. "We're not going in there to strong-arm anybody," Rev. Chuck said. "We give more pastoral care, listening to what you have to say."
The unorthodox pastor, who also serves as the Senior Police Chaplain for Carlisle and North Middleton Police Departments, is no stranger to offbeat outreach. Rev. Chuck runs a youth program called the B.A.D. Attitude tour, and offers a road side ministry on Sunday mornings at the Truck Stop TV Lounge at the Petro Stopping Center on the Harrisburg Pike. "Many drivers have come to accept Christ as their savior during these services."
Let's hope any water into wine miracles are confined to the Market Cross Pub, since though Jesus was partial to a glass with a fish and bread supper, he certainly wouldn't approve of drinking and driving.
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