CARLISLE, Pa. — Barflies, forget having to talk your troubles over with a bartender.
A pastor plans to put teams of chaplains in local bars in this central Pennsylvania town so they can lend a sympathetic ear to patrons who may need one.
The chaplains won’t preach against drinking, or evangelize, when the program starts at Market Cross Pub, organizer Chuck Kish said.
“We’re simply going to be there to help anybody who wants it. Sometimes people really just want somebody they can talk to who is not going to be judgmental, but be sympathetic,” he said.
“Some people may think this would be a strange place to find a chaplain. But we need to go where the people are,” said Kish, a 44-year-old senior pastor at the Bethel Assembly of God in Carlisle, southwest of Harrisburg.
Chaplains will work in teams, one male and one female, and will be in the bar for about three hours on the first Friday of every month, he said. The program is slated to start next month at one pub, with the hope it will be expanded.
Market Cross Pub owner Jeff Goss said he did a double-take when Kish first approached him.
“I thought, ‘A chaplain in a restaurant and bar?’ And then I thought, ‘That makes sense,’” Goss said.
Bartender Liz Horn said she’d have no problem referring a customer to a chaplain.
“Sometimes a bar is a place where people go when they’re down,” she said.