CHRISTIANS have been prevented from holding a Bible talk in a pub named after Robert Raikes – the founder of Sunday schools in the 18th Century.
A talk on the historical figure had been organised by Christians in Gloucester to take place at Robert Raikes House in Southgate Street tomorrow.
However, they have since had to change venues as the pub declined to be associated with their annual Bible Day event.
Christians in Gloucester claim the pub’s management objected to being associated with the word Bible.
But the pub’s manager Phil Tandy said the group was prevented from using the watering hole because it did not consult him and his staff properly.
Roland Parsons, city preacher and spokesman for the group, said: “We think the pub has excluded us because it wanted to please everybody else and not have the word Bible associated with the establishment.
“We find this quite ironic because of the work Robert Raikes did for Christianity and education.
“It’s upsetting to be banned but, as a Christian, I personally forgive the manager.”
Mr Tandy said he believes pubs and religious activity do not necessarily mix but he has no problem with the use of the word Bible and, as a Samuel Smith pub, Robert Raikes House is banned from advertising.
He said: “I’ve got absolutely no problem at all with the word Bible but we were not consulted about being associated with Bible Day.
“Then I see flyers across town associating us with the event without being told.
“The group also couldn’t guarantee how many people who be attending the meal. If they had 100 people coming that would disrupt the pub for the public.
“I know Robert Raikes was a famous religious figure in Gloucester, but, personally, I’m not sure a pub should be associated with religious activities.”
Bible Day has been held in Gloucester for the past four years and has previously held talks on William Tindale and Bishop John Hooper.
The talk on Robert Raikes, inset, will now take place at the Coat Room at Gloucester Guildhall tomorrow at 11.30am.
Simon Jarvis, leader of One Church in Gloucester, said: “We have a right to say something truthful from our perspective in public and I love that we have the freedom to do that in our country.”
The Reverend Gwyenth Gibbens, from Holy Trinity Church, Longlevens, said: “It’s important the church has the freedom to express itself and not become a fringe group. Christians and the church are part of the history of this country.”