'Use pubs to modernise church'
Published 03/04/2010 | 09:21
The Church of England should be open to new ways of conveying its message at Easter, reaching out into the community even in pubs, the Archbishop of York has said.
In an interview on GMTV, Dr John Sentamu, the former Bishop of Birmingham, spoke in favour of debates in pubs as one method of helping to modernise the church.
He said: "We've got now in the Church of England... where instead of simply advising people to come to our buildings and our churches, people are doing it in a new way and going to many places.
"I've actually gone and had endless debates when I was in Birmingham in pubs with a lot of people and they used to draw quite a lot of people. I think we've got to find a way of getting our message across."
The Archbishop also spoke of the importance of religious teaching in schools in increasing knowledge about the true meaning of Easter among youngsters.
A study of 1,000 six to 10-year-olds by British Lion eggs revealed earlier this week that 53% were unaware of the religious significance of Easter. Almost 30% thought it was to celebrate the Easter Bunny's birthday, while almost one in 20 thought it was to mark the birth of Jesus.
He said: "What worries me is that if the poll was about 50% of children who did not know what Easter was about.
"These are children in schools. The real worrying question is what has actually been happening, what are they teaching them?
"One of your cameramen was telling me that actually the child came home full of the whole Easter story and understood it, so in that school they are doing it well, and in other places.
"May I suggest people should not be worried because the Education Reform Act actually at the moment says there must be a school assembly every day which is mainly Christian and if it is, then the message must be taught."