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Wings and a Prayer? Alabama Church Sets Up Shop in Sports Bar

The Riverchase United Methodist Church in Alabama is hoping to attract younger, more casual worshippers.
Image: Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant
The Times Square branch of the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant chain in New York. An Alabama church is planning to hold meetings at a local branch of the sports bar.Richard Levine / Corbis

There may be some unorthodox questions raised at the next meeting of the Riverchase United Methodist Church. Like, "You want fries with that?"

The Alabama house of worship is hoping to attract some new blood by setting up shop in an unconventional location — the Buffalo Wild Wings franchise in Howell. "We want to reach a different demographic of people than we would normally be able to reach," the pastor, Dr. Jim Savage, told NBC News. "Something with a more casual, laid-back atmosphere."

Savage said the meetings, which begin this Sunday morning, will start as Bible study with prayers but "could eventually look more like a worship service of some type."

After the holy work is dispensed with, the crowd can turn its attention to Hail Mary passes. "People will be invited to stay for lunch and maybe watch some football," Savage said. He said Riverchase isn't the first to take services to a watering hole. A roadside bar on the Alabama-Florida border draws hundreds every week.

"Some people have been excited about it," Savage said. "Some people think it's weird."


— Tracy Connor