Among the passion, ardour and mordant wit of Welcome to Wrexham, there are scenes in the docu-series involving a character who cuts a slightly incongruous sight. When Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney popped to St Giles Church, to capture a flavour of their adopted city, they found something much more interesting than one of the Seven Wonders of Wales.
In conversation with the church’s vicar, someone happened to mention his unlikely sideline. For the last 20 years, Rev Dr Jason Bray has worked as a deliverance minister, a kind of ecclesiastical ghostbuster who rids homes of spirits, poltergeists and other things that go bump in the night.
Ryan and Rob were intrigued. “It was kind of spontaneous,” said Rev Bray. “They began chatting and suddenly I was aware the cameras were on me.” Before he knew it, the “quintessential vicar” and wife Laura were dressing up for the Disney+ premiere and being stopped on the streets of Wrexham.
Rev Bray is convenor of the St Asaph Deliverance Group, which usually handles eight or nine cases each year. After Welcome to Wrexham was released, there was a mini-surge, which the vicar attributes to coincidence rather than his new-found celebrity.
Around nine out of 10 cases are resolved with a single visit; the others might involve referrals but they usually have a satisfactory conclusion. Not that everyone appreciates it: to his knowledge, no one has ever contacted the diocese to thank its ministers for cleansing their homes of demons or tackling mischievous poltergeists. The lack of feedback is probably a good thing. “It shows it’s worked, I suppose,” sighed Rev Bray.