How has 2020 changed people and pubs?

GBPA winner swaps pints for the pulpit

By Reverend Emily Kolltveit, St Mary‘s Church and the Chandos Arms, London

- Last updated on GMT

Leap of faith: ‘I love turning up to work with the scent of hops floating up the spiral stone staircase’
Leap of faith: ‘I love turning up to work with the scent of hops floating up the spiral stone staircase’

Related tags: coronavirus, Beer, London, Tenanted + leased, Pubco + head office, Christmas

According to Great British Pub Award-winning operator turned ordained Anglican Deacon, Emily Kolltveit, 2020 has been ‘an extraordinary year of highs and lows’. Here she explains how she’s adapted to a new style of service.

I don’t think any of us, this time last year, could have predicted how 2020 would play out.  

Certainly, we never could have foreseen the closing of our wonderful community pub, the Chandos Arms, due to the restrictions placed upon the pub industry in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

As an award-winning community pub that is predominantly wet-led, we have found ourselves in a state of deep anxiety about whether or not the pub would survive this rollercoaster of an ordeal. 

It is a great sadness to us that for the first time since taking on the role of publicans, that the pub will be closed for Christmas. 

This cancelling of Christmas at the Chandos Arms is in direct contrast to my main role in life which is that of curate of St Mary‘s Church, Anglican Church in Primrose Hill, London. 

Churches have been able to remain open for acts of public worship and are busier than ever, trying to keep up with the ever-changing rules and regulations.  

The highlight of this year has been my ordination which took place in the in a socially distanced service at St Paul’s Cathedral. 

My career path has been varied – heavy-metal singer, Mediaeval Baebe, publican and now ordained Anglican Deacon. 

Emily-2

My role at St Mary‘s is wonderfully apt as in our crypt we house St Mary‘s Brewery, an enterprise dedicated to brewing great beer, building community and raising funds and awareness for a very important project that supports young people who are vulnerable to knife and gang crime. 

The relationship between Christians and brewing is long and distinguished going right back to the early church and I love turning up to work with the scent of hops floating up the spiral stone staircase. 

The synergy of my relationships, skills and experiences seems to have produced a working life that is filled with joy, challenge and fulfilment that has made 2020 a year never to be forgotten - for all the good and the bad. 

None of us really know how the landscape may have changed during this year or how long it will be before we are able to rebuild our country, our pubs and our businesses, however we are very much looking forward to being able to re-launch the Chandos Arms in 2021 and I am forever hopeful that the future for our pub remains bright.

I believe strongly that the pub trade will rise like a phoenix after this difficult year, for where else do we experience all the glories and diversity of human life in such a vivid and enticing way but down the local pub.

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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