Temple of commerce: A Tesco Express store has opened in Bournemouth, Dorset after the supermarket giant purchased a former Methodist church
Prophet exchanged for profit as Tesco opens latest convenience shop in a church!
(Bournemouth, Dorset, UK)
Shoppers who pray for cheaper groceries might just get what they wish for after a branch of Tesco opened in a former church. The building has been drastically altered to sell groceries underneath its original ornate stained glass windows. The former Westbourne Methodist Church is now selling food, alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets after the retail giant moved in. Pews have been stripped out in favour of checkouts in the controversial conversion to a Tesco Express. The move has upset some members of the community, who have criticised the latest expansion of the multi-national supermarket. The Reverend Dr Bob McKinley, former minister at the church, said it was 'sad' to see the building become a shop - but that the church had no control over whom the building was sold to. He said: 'Our main concern was the people. Although it is sad, it is only a building. 'You could say it is not appropriate to have a Tesco Express in it but once it is sold it is no longer under our control.' James Rippon, a 36-year-old accountant who lives nearby, said: 'It just seems such a shame for this beautiful building to be turned into a Tesco. 'It seems like you can't go anywhere in England today without being within spitting distance of one. 'I understand that having the building empty is no good for anyone, but it seems odd that a former church is being used to sell cigarettes, alcohol and lottery tickets. 'It feels like just another step in the increasing marginalisation of Christianity in our community. 'I suppose it represents people's priorities nowadays - the convenience of being able to buy their bread a few miles closer is more important than prayer and religion.' The decision to open the store has been supported by some members of the Westbourne Traders Association, who hope it will attract more shoppers to the area. But Rob Forbes, owner of family-run Seamoor News, said the Tesco store 'spooks you out.' He said: 'I have to cross myself every time I walk past it.'
Tills ringing, not bells: A worker hands over change to a customer
Altar-ing the church: A customer pays for his purchase at the new shop which has caused some concern in the local community
Biblical characters depicted in ornate stained glass windows now look down on shoppers browsing the aisles in the historic building near Bournemouth. But the conversion of the former Westbourne Methodist Church has divided opinion. Christians opposing the scheme have highlighted a passage in the Bible detailing Jesus' efforts to rid the Temple of Herod, saying 'Get these out of here! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise'.