Oh my God! Stratford pub could be transformed into church

Pastor Rufus Akintimehin outside The Angel pub which he is hoping to convert into a church

Pastor Rufus Akintimehin outside The Angel pub which he is hoping to convert into a church - Credit: Archant

At first glance, a dilapidated former pub has little in common with a house of worship.

But Pastor Rufus Akintimehin is hoping that a little divine intervention will enable him to transform The Angel in Stratford into a new home for his church.

He says The Redeemed Christian Church of God New Life Assembly has outgrown its current home at The Mix Centre in Cumberland Road, Plaistow, and the vacant pub is the ideal new location.

“The moment we get planning permission, we won’t be calling it a pub again - it will be a church,” Rufus, 43, insisted. “We will change its name and begin painting inside and out, so people will feel like they are stepping into a church.”

Changes to the pub - aptly located in Church Street - will include swapping the bar and dancefloor with a children’s church and auditorium, while the existing lobby would become the new church office.

Rufus, who founded his church four years ago, says the move will enable the 70-strong congregation to do more community outreach work.

“A lot of the activities that we would like to be running we cannot because we haven’t got the space,” he said. “I want to start a maths club on a voluntary basis teaching students to support their education, bring old people together with coffee mornings and start a food bank for less privileged people who can come once a month to get vital goods.”

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There are also plans to run a youth club and a weekly bicycle repair shop from the new base.

Rufus says the pub’s untapped potential includes a large hall which is big enough to accommodate more than 200 people, free parking in the evenings and on Sundays, and good transport links to Plaistow and further afield.

The planned conversion has been backed by church group Transform Newham, with Simon Clinton, the chair of the trustees, writing a letter in support.

A decision on whether the change in planning permission has been granted is expected by the end the month.

To help fundraise for the renovations, email rccgnewlifeassembley@gmail.com or call 07958 245011.