Tesco’s have just opened their latest branch in a former Methodist Church near Bournemouth, but instead of constructing a purpose made building for this “express” store, they have kept the church in much of its original style, including stained glass windows!
Some have commented on how good the building looks now, but are not sure that it should contain a supermarket. Christians objecting to the “conversion” have quoted passages from the Bible such as “Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise.”
However, as the Rev Bob McKinley (a former minister at the church) said “You could say it is not appropriate to have a Tesco Express in a church but once it is sold it is no longer under our control”. Bournemouth Council granted a “change of use” to allow the building to be used for retail purposes.
With so many other empty buildings around nowadays, I’m sure Tesco’s could have found something more suitable for their purposes and it seems like a brave decision to use a church as a supermarket.
I can’t speak for others, but I think I would feel strange shopping in a building like that. Some may even get confused and have a quick prayer before the checkout?
Opening a store in a church may be questionable and you have to wonder whether it is only God that moves in mysterious ways.