You might not expect a man of God to reveal that his favorite beer is a beer called Hell, but this is the case for Reverend Gary Ward, a beer-loving vicar who spends his time running a church and drinking beer in a pub.
The 56-year-old works two nights a week at the Crown Inn in Claverley, Shropshire – his salary is used to raise money for new heating and lighting at All Saints Church.
Reverend Ward, wearing his dog collar behind the bar, said a few more people had turned up for the service because of his shifts at the pub. He added: “They’ve gotten to know me and they’re not that nervous about stepping over the threshold.”
“It’s a wide range of people, from young people to older people, it’s just a matter of having those conversations.” They may not connect with me, but that doesn’t matter. You leave it to God.’
The father of two often sits down with locals to enjoy a glass of his favorite beer – a German beer called Hell.
Gary Ward (pictured) is a beer-loving vicar who spends his time running a church and drinking beer in a pub
The father of two often meets locals to enjoy a pint of his favorite lager – a German beer called Hell
Recalling how he came to drink pints, Revered Ward said: “Before I was ordained, like most of us, I had worked in a bar and helped pay for my studies.”
“It was about six or seven years ago that the pub down the road needed a member of staff for New Year’s Eve as they had just lost a member of staff.
“I had a practice session with the pumps and they gave me the job and I met a lot of people I wouldn’t normally meet.”
“The landlord then gave me two regular shifts a week, which I just enjoy doing.”
“Whenever an act or band performs, I also help out, usually between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m..”
Reverend Ward held a number of jobs before becoming a society man, including serving as a prison health worker and even treating serial killer Fred West while he was in prison.
The priest is now battling Parkinson’s disease, but that hasn’t stopped him from leading services and feeding thirsty locals.
Reverend Ward, who has been vicar in the village for 13 years, added: “I don’t get paid to work in the pub and I don’t want to, it’s part of my ministry.”
“The money goes directly into the church’s coffers.”
Reverend Ward, wearing his dog collar behind the bar, said a few more people had turned up for the service because of his shifts at the pub
The 56-year-old works two nights a week at the Crown Inn in Claverley, Shropshire – his salary is used to raise money for new heating and lighting at All Saints Church
“I do it because it’s part of what I do.” Usually it’s a few evenings for an hour or two, or when it’s busy. I’m just standing behind the bar.
“I meet a lot of people who wouldn’t normally cross the threshold of the church.”
“After chatting with people for a while, a deeper conversation happens.”
“We haven’t been able to attract many additional people to the church, but what has helped us is weddings and baptisms.” It’s about making connections.
“It’s about making the church and the village a whole and not separating them.” It’s together.
“If I say to them, ‘You’re welcome,’ it’s not that difficult to step over the threshold on a Sunday morning.
Rev. Ward says his most popular drink he serves is a 4.5 percent German pale lager aptly named “Hell,” and that the drink is his favorite drink.
He said: “I often tell people that Hell is actually my favorite beer, it was the best lager in the world.”
Gary Ward, vicar of All Saints Church, Claverley, Shropshire, whose favorite drink is a lager called Hell
“It’s an absolutely fantastic drink.”
“I should get a commission on the amount of hell I sell.” People find it very amusing because the priest drinks hell. It definitely breaks the ice.
“In German it means blonde, blonde light beer.”
“I think working in the pub helps people realize that priests are normal.”
“We drink, smoke something, enjoy the football.” We are no different than we believe we are called by God.
“I was a midwife for ten years. I looked after Fred West in prison as a health care guard and am now a vicar and bartender.’
Crown Inn landlord Ken Lavender said: “Gary is brilliant behind the bar.” “Locals love it when he joins them for a pint of hell and a chat.”