PREACHING over a pint could become the new way of worship in Pentewan.
Services at All Saints church, on The Terrace, will be suspended over the winter months as congregation numbers had dwindled to just two or three members on a Sunday.
But the Reverend Mike Marshall, from Holy Trinity Church in St Austell, said he hopes to turn this around by bringing his message to the people … in the pub.
"When I came to Pentewan I was really quite concerned because there was only a very small group of people meeting there," said Mr Marshall.
"Holy Trinity is vibrant with more than 200 people attending Sunday services, but it seemed they were struggling in Pentewan."
He said the chapel at All Saints is on a hill with no parking, and is quite inaccessible so many Pentewan people have been migrating to Holy Trinity.
Meanwhile musicians and preachers have been sent out to All Saints, sometimes for less than a handful of attendees.
A few of the regular members are also unable to attend over the winter due to moving away and holidays abroad, Mr Marshall said.
A meeting will be held soon to ask locals how they would like to see the village's services held. One option is a "respectful, informal service" in the Ship Inn in Pentewan.
"As a church community in St Austell we're very keen to provide what is needed and appropriate in Pentewan and are thinking and wondering how that would best be done," said Mr Marshall, 60.
"It might be a meeting in a more easily accessible venue or even the pub. The church has got to reshape its envelope to catch people where they are.
"I'm not in the business of managing decline of the church, I'm here to see things grow and develop."
He approached Kim Barker from the Ship Inn, who said she would be "thrilled".
"After the Remembrance service in Pentewan last week, everyone came into the pub afterwards for tea and coffee and it was lovely. It brought the community together," she said.
"Your local pub is here for everybody and I told Mr Marshall they can use it however they like."
Robert Evans, who lives on The Terrace, said he and other nearby residents were "very concerned" about what will happen to All Saints chapel.
But Mr Marshall insisted there would be Christmas and Easter services there: "This isn't about trying to sell it off or make money. We are keeping it heated and secure over the winter."