From House of Sin to House of God on Shotover St.
It’s more immaculate concept than Immaculate Conception but the morphing of Candy’s brothel into a church rates with water being turned into wine.
It’s true – a House of God now occupies the premises of a former House of Sin.
Candy’s Gentlemen’s Club, Queenstown’s sole brothel, shut up shop when its lease on the Shotover Street premises above the Westpac bank ran out on December 10 last year.
Enter devout Christians Chris and Janet Barraclough, who shifted their “On the Rock” Vineyard Christian Fellowship to the notorious late-night haunt early last month.
The ex-Invercargill couple have held services for a “small number” of worshippers at various temporary premises in Queenstown for the past 13 years and wanted a central place to rent, says Chris.
“We’re not keen on creating a splash – it just happens to be that we’ve taken over something that looks like it had a high profile,” he says.
Many businesses wouldn’t find the location useful because of “the nature of its construction” – a central space and “some other small rooms” – but it’ll suit “On The Rock” just fine, Chris says.
The church is part of a global movement of evangelic Vineyard churches. Its website promises “cafe-style meetings, where a visitor can have an intimate experience with their Creator”.
The Barracloughs haven’t held a ceremony to cleanse the building of intimate experiences of another kind but they have revamped the interior with artwork.
And yes, any former Candy’s employees will be welcomed into the fold, Chris adds.
“If the Kingdom of Heaven is shut off to certain kinds of people, then it’s not going to do a very good job.”
Art crafted by “On the Rock” worshippers will be on display at the Shotover St venue between 3.30-7pm today and tomorrow, and 10am-3pm Saturday. There’s a gold coin donation and proceeds go to the Mission Aviation Fellowship.