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Bar Church hosts first service with a packed house

By Kristen Pope, Reporter, kpope@ktxs.com
Published On: Mar 24 2013 04:18:23 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 26 2013 09:11:51 AM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

It doesn't sound like church and bar should go together but that's exactly what happened Sunday morning.

Southern Hills Church of Christ held their first service at Memories Bar in Abilene at 11:30am. Church-goers said they really enjoyed it.

The ministers said they want to "remove some of the religious barriers" related to going to church.

"I normally go every Sunday but this was great," said David Bordner. "Wonderful people. We're all the same."

Ginger Fikes said, "It felt real. You know I was telling the lady in there, this should have a motto. Feel the real, cause how unfelt the whole time."

"Jesus would have wanted us to get out in the highways and the by-ways," said Jim Smith. "Like a preacher I heard say one time, preach it from the utter to the gutter."

The Memories Bar parking lot was packed with cars for their first church service.  It normally just serves alcohol, but Sunday, it was used as a place to seek God.

"I think a regular building is intimidating to people," said Jasa Ruff. "People have their preconceived ideas about what church is and they've have bad experiences and met people who weren't really walking the talk."

Leaders of this church said they want people to come and feel comfortable, just as they are.

"We're not here to condemn something or someone," said  Bar Church Minister Vann Conwell. "We're here to hold up the Gospel."

However Conwell said, he doesn't want the unique location to overshadow the church's goal.

"We're trying to go where people are who have needs and speak to them of Jesus," said Conwell. "We're trying to lift him up. We're trying to be accessible. We think Jesus would do that. We're trying very much to follow the pattern and example of Jesus here."

The service ended after noon and the official bar area didn't open until 12pm, the legal drinking time permitted in Taylor County.

For more information about Bar Church, visit their website at barchurchabilene.com