Christian group banned from holding Bible Day event in pub name after Sunday School founder


A Christian group has been banned from holding their annual Bible Day event in a Gloucester pub that was formerly the home of Sunday school founder, Robert Raikes.

Members of the group had booked the pub in Southgate Street for a talk about the life of Robert Raikes, who had founded the Sunday school movement in 1780, as part of their Bible Day celebrations in the city last weekend.


But the pub’s landlord, Phil Tandy, cancelled the booking after complaining that posters advertising the talk mentioned the words ‘Gloucester Bible Day’, and therefore associated the pub with the event.  He said he was not aware that the talk was connected to the celebrations.

“The room was originally booked for a talk about Robert Raikes and I thought that’s all it was,” he said. “There was no mention of a Bible day and I did not agree to be part of that.”

He added: “I know Robert Raikes was a famous religious figure in Gloucester, but, personally, I’m not sure a pub should be associated with religious activities.”

Roland Parsons, city preacher and spokesman for the group, said: “The local tourism office was delighted that the Robert Raikes House pub was being used for a talk on Robert Raikes.  Mr Tandy was informed that the talk was being given by former local journalist Hugh Worsnip of the Gloucester Civic Trust.

But Mr Tandy would not be moved and his fierce reaction seemed to be because he had seen a poster in town with the words Gloucester Bible Day on it.

Objecting to the word Bible”

If he does not object to the words Gloucester or Day, he must be objecting to the word Bible.

I told him when we booked the room that all four of the talks we have arranged so far on Bible Days were about the way the Bible was used to change the world. Robert Raikes used it to teach children to read and thus saved many thousands of them from a life of crime.

“Our apparent crime was to use the word Bible. But if we removed it from the poster it would look as though we were ashamed of it. Many Christians in

We think the pub has excluded us because it wanted to please everybody else and not have the word Bible associated with the establishment.


We find this quite ironic because of the work Robert Raikes did for Christianity and education.

It’s upsetting to be banned but, as a Christian, I personally forgive the manager.”

The Reverend Gwyenth Gibbens, from Holy Trinity Church, Longlevens, said: “It’s important the church has the freedom to express itself and not become a fringe group. Christians and the church are part of the history of this country.”


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