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Heaven for football fans ... and more fixtures may follow

Happy football supporters enjoy a match at St Peter's
Happy football supporters enjoy a match at St Peter's
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A Lancashire church is planning to build its community connections further after opening its doors to host live screenings of England’s matches in the World Cup.

It was a case of holy goals rather than holy souls when innovative outreach work saw St Peter’s CE Church in Scorton opening its doors to the village’s residents for live screenings of all England’s World Cup games.

The Rev Anton Muller

The Rev Anton Muller

The fixtures proved such a success the church now hopes to host further sporting events and possibly a weekly film night.

Parish priest Rev Anton Muller said: “The idea initially came from a throwaway remark. Our churchwarden Jo Taylor’s husband lives for football and so the idea flowed from that, as we thought a good many in the community would also be attracted by a large screen in a cool setting (ideal with the recent hot weather).

He added: “We had to put a TV aerial in the steeple above the bells. A small team, run by churchwarden Jo came together to run the event, including the bar. Other folk from the community came early to help, and stayed on after to tidy up. The ale came from the AVID Brewery and a lot of the lager and wine was donated. We received £1,500 in donations over all.”

The broadcast equipment was loaned and installed by Audioworks and a temporary pub “The Carpenter’s Arms” was set up.

The Bishop of Burnley the Rt Rev Philip North made a VIP visit to the church and congratulated Rev Muller and his team.

Bishop Philip, a self-confessed football fan, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the game I watched at St Peter’s and it was an excellent way to bring people to church who might never normally come. I enjoyed chatting with the fans and offer a huge congratulations to Anton and his team for their hard work and initiative.”

Keith McIntosh, theChurch of England's Ministry of Sport Ambassador in the county, said: “Well done to all involved for stepping out in faith with a fantastic example of how the local church can engage with its local community through sport.”