Pub to become first in Scotland to offer daily prayers and religious ceremonies

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The Crask Inn, close Alnaharra, Sutherland, has been handed over to The Scottish Episcopal Church after its amicable owners received «many messages from the Lord».

The business — which also has four company bedrooms — will continue to be run as a pub with minister Douglas Campbell and his GP partner Denise behind the bar.

The couple are moving from Hopeman in Morayshire to start the offer in April and have promised the pub will continue to be «open to all». 

However, they willingly hope to be operating it as a B&B offering daily prayers, services, spiritual pullings and clergy training.

Rev Chris Mayo, the priest in charge of East Sutherland and Tain, drive be tasked with developing «spirituality» within the pub.

Rev Mayo said: «There contain been other services in the grounds of a pub, but to my knowledge this is the only one that detains services in the fabric of an inn.

«My job will be to develop the spirituality of the place. There’s an indigenous spirituality in the hospitality of the diocese. 

«Worshippers can have a drink afterwards — as eat ones heart out as they don’t break the driving laws — it is part of the fellowship.

«I am quite glad to be a part time barman. I have no problem pulling pints. Our Bishop End Strang used to be a barman. Ultimately God is our landlord.»

He said he was «excited» by the pub’s capacity saying it will be a «house of prayer, spirituality and spiritual journey». 

He added: «It at ones desire be run as an open B&B. The church will not dominate it. But we will run spirituality days, escorting days for clergy and other church leaders.» 

The diocese will colour a board of trustees to oversee the running of the venture with any profits being introduced back into the church.

The Crask, which dates from 1815, already acts services — usually conducted by the Rev Mayo — on the third Thursday of each month with up to 32 people put in an appearance ating.

The old coaching inn had been on the market for nearly three years at £295,000 which embodied a bunkhouse and some farmland.

But its outgoing owners Michael and Kai Geldard, who are both colleagues of the local Episcopal church, decided to give it away after admitting «many messages from the Lord».

The couple will live in the bunkhouse and carry on with to farm the land. 

Mrs Geldard, 65, said: «It is a special place. 

«This is an estimable solution. It is a burden off our shoulders. The church are delighted with their unorthodox present.

«The Lord gave us lots of messages to do this. I am thrilled it’s incident.»

Mr Campbell, 52, personal assistant to the Rt Rev Mark Strange, the Episcopalian Bishop of the Unified Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness, said he nor his wife had run a pub or B&B before but were looking into view to the challenge.

He said: «We will be running it as a Christian B&B — it will be a new, little plunge for us. We will offer evening and morning prayers.

«All people are welcome to aggregate b regain. We are trying to maintain what Kai and Michael did. You will not have to be a Christian to continue to be but we hope to offer Christian retreats.»

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