Salisbury priest swaps pulpit for pulling pints at local nightclub
As part of his Lenten pledge, Salisbury priest David Linaker has swapped pious hymns for pulling pints as he serves not only in his chapel, but also The Chapel, the local nightclub.
Rev Linaker is not only Rector of St Thomas's Church, he's also the vice president and chaplain for Salisbury and District's Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Across the Lent season, he is offering one day's work to all the businesses that are a member of the chamber, including The Chapel, where Rev Linaker spent a Thursday night pulling pints and manning the decks.
"Just being there in my dog collar provoked some interesting questions," Rev Linaker said.
"I had great fun and the clubbers showed me a really warm welcome. It was particularly interesting to do a Thursday night shift as that's one of the busiest nights at the club."
While many people might find this kind of behaviour very strange for a reverend, it could be seen as reminiscent of what Pope Francis called for in his first Chrism Mass in March 2013.
During that ceremony, the Pope said at the time that priests should "be shepherds with the smell of their sheep".
Rev Linaker believes this kind of project helps him with his local community ministry and brings him closer to Jesus.
"Some people think working at a night club is an odd thing for a vicar to do – but the Bible tells us this is exactly the sort of thing Jesus Christ did during his ministry."
He's already discovered that the work of other Christians in this field is bearing fruit: "I was really chuffed to hear of the high reputation of Salisbury Street Pastors.
Street Pastors operates on the busier socialising nights in the City, assisting anybody who needs help and listening to those who want a friendly ear. Most clubbers won't ever need to turn to them for help, but a lot of people are glad they're there, doing the work they do."
And while overseeing a rave may be among the most outlandish of his tasks, Rev Linaker doesn't plan to stop at nightclubs.
"I am also going to be working for MG Cannon a local car body repair firm, Safe Store a self-storage company, the Salisbury Journal and Trinity Photography.
"I'm already discovering just how much I have to learn and just how much of that can help us be a better parish church."