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Bishops take part in pub talk with young people

Bishop Richard Pain (right) watches as Bishop June Osborne (left) answers a question posed by a young person.

TWO Bishops were questioned by young people over a pint on of issues that mattered to them.

The event, called ‘Grill-the-Bishops’ was held at the Owain Glyndwr pub on St John Street.

Attendees, aged between 18-30, came from the Church in Wales dioceses of Llandaff and Monmouth along with their bishops, the Right Reverend June Osborne, Bishop of Llandaff, and the Right Reverend Richard Pain, Bishop of Monmouth.

Right Reverend June Osborne, the Bishop of Llandaff, said: “I thought it was a terrific event. The fact it was in a pub means that we were in the natural environment for the young people who came, so we could have a different kind of conversation.”

Attendees put forward questions on a range of topics, including attitudes towards Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues (LGBT) within the Church and the importance of understanding Judaism to learn more about the origins of the Christian faith.

In response to the question of LGBT rights, both Bishops were in favour of allowing greater co-operation between the Church and the LGBT community.

Bishop June said: “The way forward is that the Church gets past the issues that it is struggling over and embraces marrying couples of whatever sexuality.”

Edward Hodge 28, from Newport, put forward the question about LGBT rights.

He said: “It’s incredible to see the Church moving forward. In the past, it has made lots of mistakes and treated people badly, but for the Bishops to say: we’ve done this wrong, lets move forward, is very encouraging for me.”

Young attendees, including 18-year-old Marley Mitchell (left) and 19-year-old Emily Hawkins (right) watch as the Bishops answer questions.

Many of the young people felt their questions had been answered well by the panel, and enjoyed bridging the gap between the Church and its younger members.

Ashley Davis, 23, from Blackwood said: “A lot of young people love the pub, myself included. Where I’m from, there’s a lot of older people in our parish, I think I’m the youngest in my church by quite a lot.

“Doing this allowed me to meet lots of people my age in my diocese, which I think is really important for young members, particularly those in rural parishes and communities.”

Marley Mitchell, 18, from Malpas said: “This informal setting really brings down some of the barriers that are there.

“It might seem intimidating to speak to a member of the clergy or a Bishop, but here it just shows that you can sit down and have a nice chat with them, they’re really friendly.”

The Church hopes to do more events in informal areas to help further connect with young members.

Bishop June said: “The Church has to get out of its buildings, its got to get where people are. We’ve got to go into pubs, clubs and places where people feel at ease and at home. We’ll be doing lots more of events like this.”

Ashley Davis (left) and another young member laugh at a funny response to one of the questions.

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