May 5, 2003
In this church, people can bounce off the walls
___By Mark Wingfield
___The latest innovation in portable church structures might just blow away the competition.
___The world's first inflatable church will be displayed May 13-16 at the National Christian Resources Exhibition in Surrey, England.
___It's like a bounce house, but it doesn't bounce.
___"You can't bounce on this inflatable, but you can get involved with some fun activities around it," declared the novelty's creator, Michael Gill of InnovationsUk.com, based in Southampton, England.
___The inflated structure stands 47 feet high from ground to steeple, runs 47 feet in length and 25 feet in width. It includes a blow-up organ, altar, pulpit, pews, candles and faux stained glass windows. The church on the go can accommodate up to 60 people standing
___Brett Pitchfork, events manager of Christian Resources Exhibitions, said interest in the inflatable church has been "huge" leading up to the show.
___On the opening day of the exhibition, the inflatable church will be dedicated by a Church of England minister. Then a series of seminars will be held in it.
___Gill said he believes the inflatable church could help make the traditional church more accessible to local communities. "If the people won't go to church, the church needs to go to the people, and this is one way to do it," he said.
___The inflatable church joins a diverse line of entertainment-oriented products offered by InnovationsUk.com. Other products include a ski simulator and an inflatable pub.
___More information about the blow-up church is available at www.inflatablechurch.com.
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