Let's recap on the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church Outreach initiative. An hour in which often armoured and locked gates are opened and any passing members of the public are urged to step inside, on the basis that it will not cost anything. Factory processed food is offered as an incentive, almost like fisherman's bait, to lure innocent passers by into a PBCC photo opportunity and a possible meeting with their local MP, which they then publicise on their website. Thus far numbers visiting have not been huge, so in an effort to pull more folk in, rather than extending the hour to a whole day, the Fire Service having been duped by a few free sandwiches themselves are invited to bring along a Fire Engine, which visitors can look around.
Now I find the next bit very strange. Visitors to the Christian Church are prevented from entering what is after all, a Place of Public Worship. Why? Not everyone at lunchtime on a Saturday is starving hungry, indeed not everyone wants to fill their empty stomach with junk food anyway. What about those in distress, mourning the loss of someone close to them, recently lost their job, or diagnosed with an illness? They may be looking for somewhere quiet to reflect, or to pray. As well as for worship, isn't this what a church is for?
Almost every church that I know is. So what the PBCC are doing is diverting the publics attention away from the fact that, even though their charitable status has been called into question by the Charity Commission and they are at great risk of losing a vast amount of public money as a result, they still refuse to open the doors of their churches, even to allow a child to use the toilet.
What exactly are they hiding? And why is the sideshow element of their open day growing? It is becoming more and more like a village fete. The least the PBCC can do on a Public Outreach Day, is to allow the general public to see inside the building they are locked out of for the other 364 days in the year.