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English Vicar Claims Sermon Record

July 1, 2001

WHALLEY, England (AP) _ Rev. Chris Sterry had a lot to tell his parishioners about the Old Testament.

So much, in fact, that more than 28 hours after he started preaching at an English church, he was still in the pulpit delivering a sermon he claims set a record for an unscripted speech.

Sterry began his sermon at 6:30 a.m. Friday, lecturing on the Book of Genesis in a bid to get his name into another well-known book _ the Guinness Book of Records.

``This will be a proper sermon,″ Sterry, 46, said before he began preaching. ``As a former lecturer on the Old Testament I am looking forward to unlimited opportunity to talk about one of my great enthusiasms.″

When he reached the existing record of 27 hours and 30 minutes Saturday morning, the Anglican vicar was lecturing to about 100 parishioners about the biblical tale of Daniel in the lion’s den.

He had planned to preach for 36 hours, but called off his marathon after 28 hours and 45 minutes.

No one was available at Guinness World Records to comment on Sterry’s feat. To earn a place in the record book, Sterry could not repeat himself, talk nonsense or pause for more than 10 seconds.

He could take a 15-minute break every eight hours but was allowed no other rests _ a rule that prompted him warn parishioners to turn away while he used his ``pulpit potty.″

Parishioners came and went throughout the long sermon.

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