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Worshippers find welcome and room at the inn

The congregation of Holy Trinity, the oldest church in Dartford, Kent, has been cast out of their temple while builders work on their place of worship. Luckily, this time round there is room for them at the inn and yesterday they filed into morning service in the upstairs room of their local pub.

The parishioners were a little nonplussed when told of the move, but parish priest, the Rev Martin Henwood, managed to persuade them. "Jesus used to frequent inns, so I think I am following in good footsteps."

The change in location seems have been a success. The services in the room above the bar of the Wat Tyler, Dartford's oldest pub, can cater for a maximum of 40 people - so far every one has been full. Mr Henwood added: "A lot of people had their doubts about this whole scheme at first, but with the church under builders' materials and scaffolding I needed to find somewhere to go.

"The pub is not the most unlikely place to choose. It is often the focal point for a community so setting up the congregation there seemed quite natural. A lot of people ... are coming round to seeing it is a good thing.

"The only real drawback is the size of the congregations. I would like a lot more people to get inside, but the restrictions are really on the grounds of safety and of course space."