West Wollongong's St Mark's Anglican Church tempts Pokemon Go crowd with lures and hot chips

Waterbombed in Rhodes, held up at gunpoint in Tahmoor – the Pokemon Go crowd is not wanted everywhere. 

But for one enterprising Wollongong evangelist, the virtual reality obsession represents an opportunity to roll out the welcome mat.

“I’m not religious, but this is some damn good Christian marketing. Your God will be proud of you.”

St Mark's Anglican Church youth worker Edward Sowden announced on Friday he would pepper the church grounds with Pokemon-attracting ‘lures’ after Sunday’s service. 

“Plus I'll order some chips from Tony's,” he told Wollongong’s Pokégong Go Facebook crowd.

“Feel free to come to all or some of the night. Hope to see you Sunday to claim the church/gym for your team.”

Mr Sowden, 25, told the Mercury he was simply a player who saw the potential of the lures to connect people with each other – and the church.

“We just want people to feel welcome to come along to our church or even hang out in our church grounds,” he said. 

“Just as Pokemon is bringing all sorts of different people together from all different backgrounds and religions, Jesus can bring people together from all around the world.” 

The Pokégong Go crowd gave the invitation mixed reviews. 

“I’m not religious, but this is some damn good Christian marketing,” said one, April Misiluti. “Your God will be proud of you”. 

“Nice try Jesus,” wrote another, Ben Mcdougall. “Not falling for that again”. 

Within the game, St Mark’s church and carpark is a pre-determined battleground, or Pokégym. The wider St Mark’s grounds are a Pokéstop – a place to collect game items and lay down lures to initiate play. 

Lures are picked up as a part of normal gameplay. Because they can also be bought using real-world money, and can drive people to actual places of commerce, they are considered a key driver of the fledgling ‘Pokéconomy’.