You know you’re doing ministry right when it involves trips to a comedy festival and the consumption of copious quantities of rum. That, at least, is the lesson Paul ‘Werzel’ Montague and Rev Chris Bedding have learnt from the last year.
The cult sensation, Pirate Church, had a sell-out season at Perth’s Fringe World Festival. Then the boys embarked on a national tour, taking in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and appearances in Sydney and Melbourne. Later in 2013, they launched an innovative addition to the Pirate Church brand – the deliciously naughty A Week at St Bastard’s.
Christmas was celebrated with Away into Danger, and then the comedic duo were off to Sydney for Yuróra NCYC 2014. Hundreds of young adults queued to get a seat in the crowded theatre, and many declared Pirate Church the highlight of their time at Yuróra.
But what on earth is Pirate Church?
Well, according to The West Australian “Pirate Church is… a charming diversion and there’s plenty of laughs to be had from a pair of believers who don’t mind having a dig at themselves and their faith.”
Comedy about religion is pretty common. Just about every comic has their material about the bizarre things that religious freaks get up to. But Pirate Church isn’t about taking the mickey out of religion for cheap laughs. Well, maybe there will be some cheap laughs. Pirate Church is a loving satire about the wacky world of religion, and Christianity in particular. The catch is that it’s being done by two people who make their living from serving the church in ministry – Paul is a First Third specialist with the Uniting Church in WA and Chris, an Anglican priest.
So what’s with the pirates? Well, it seems that faith has become a game for landlubbers. People who don’t understand the terror and glory of The Deep. People who’ve forgotten a Captain who was wild and untameable and feared no one. Folks who don’t search for buried treasure.
“Pirate Church is for mischief-makers and free-spirits,” said Chris. “It’s for those who long to dance a jig at twilight in the salty air. It’s for those who love a good fight, a good yarn, and a good bottle o’ rum.”
Pirate Church will be appearing at Fringe World Festival every Sunday in February. You can find out more and buy tickets at www.piratechurch.com.au.