Barnsley working men’s clubs are more usually the haunt of blokes in cloth caps than men of the cloth.
But that’s all changing at Jump WMC where the regulars are beginning to discuss the gospels with as much gusto as they debate the price of a decent pint.
Rev Martijin Mugge, curate of St Mary’s Church in nearby Wombwell, has been appointed club chaplain – making him the first to be officially attached to a working men’s club.
Officials at the diocese of Sheffield say the curate and the club plan to work closely together on the social and spiritual revival of the village.
And the Rev Mugge said members of the club have already greeted his appointment positively.
The 43-year-old Dutch-born father of four said: “I’ve not had any negative reactions from people although I think some might wonder what a man of the cloth is doing in their club.
“I’ll be speaking at events they put on and also acting as a contact for people with any particular pastoral needs. It’s about developing trust with people, so they know me and can approach me.
“I hope there’ll be things that we can do together, with that relationship between the church and a working men’s club.”
Club manager Andy Hodgkinson said: “Martijin and I have developed a good friendship and he has been a great spiritual support to me.”
“I am delighted we might well be the first working men’s club with its own chaplain and I’m certain it will be of great benefit to members and the wider community.”
Rev Mugge came to the UK in 1995 and became a Christian three years later while living in Sheffield.
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