On tap and on song

beer hymnsSome people might think an event called Beer and Hymns sells itself, but Sally Douglas wasn’t so sure.

“I didn’t know if any more than five people would show up,” the Richmond Uniting Church minister said.

As it turned out the 40th anniversary of union event, put on by Richmond and Uniting Church Chalice, attracted far more than a handful to the Wesley Anne bar and restaurant in Melbourne’s inner north.

“People came from all kinds of places,” Rev Dr Douglas said.

“There were young and old, pretty much a full house, beautiful singing and fab musicians. It was pretty special.”

Some of those attending were not church people but had seen the event advertised in posters on the high street.

“The way we did it was really low key,” Dr Douglas said, with the focus on the singing rather sermonising.

Participants were invited to bring along copies of Together in Song or the Australian Hymn Book to choose favourites from.

The hymn or other worship song numbers were called out and written on a whiteboard, and were added to those that had been emailed in earlier.

“There were some golden oldies, but also others sung,” Dr Douglas said.

There was one particularly memorable chorus rendition inspired by last month’s scenes of clergy linking arms to symbolically resist the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The anti-racist clergy sang This Little Light of Mine and the same song rang out as a sign

of solidarity from those gathered in the Wesley Anne.

“There was applause and tears,” Dr Douglas said.

Dr Douglas said there is already talk of organising a second event – Beer and Carols.

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