Reverend celebrated after buying Sheffield pub and transforming it into centre for the community

John Vincent, centre, who has been behind  the Furnival project for many years

John Vincent, centre, who has been behind the Furnival project for many years

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A retired minister who bought a Sheffield pub at auction and used it as a church has had a community cafe named in his honour.

Reverend Dr John Vincent bought the empty pub, The Furnival, on Verdon Street, Burngreave, for £50,000 in 1995 despite not having permission from the Methodist Church.

The Furnival

The Furnival

The local Methodist church was unable to continue on Lopham Street and Rev Vincent was part of a team keen to keep a church in the area.

He thought the perfect location would be the empty pub which he had seen advertised for sale in a publication by brewers Tetley.

He paid double what he had planned after another bidder was keen to buy the building and retain it as a pub.

For many years The Furnival was used as a place of worship and in recent years the building has been developed further.

Neighbouring shops, owned by Verdon Street Enterprises, are leased and run for the benefit of the local community and the Sheffield Methodist Circuit has moved its office into the building.

The pub’s original bar area has been transformed into a community cafe area in the last year and is now used by groups including a dementia cafe and a Somali women’s group.

Rev Vincent visited for a special commemorative event where the cafe was officially named after him.

He spoke about the early days of the building.

He said: “What we had done was to place what I call a scene of incarnation in the pub, because people are used to coming in and out of the pub. These were people who had never been in and out of the church.

“We would see what would happen to the building that we would call secular and not religious.”

Geraldine Pearce, circuit manager, said: “It’s a community project that has been changed and updated over the years.

“It has been really interesting to learn how it has changed.”