Not enough pews for the queue

IT IS not a problem many churches have - but all wish they did.For one Suffolk congregation has “too many bums on pews” according to its vicar.

IT IS not a problem many churches have - but all wish they did.

For one Suffolk congregation has “too many bums on pews” according to its vicar, and is seriously short of places to sit for everyone who wants to attend the popular Sunday services.

Former TV vicar, the Rev Jamie Allen - who was born in Woodbridge and whose parents live in Felixstowe - has seen his flock grow quickly since he arrived back in the county last year, and now it is overflowing.

Mr Allen, who shot to national fame after appearing in the BBC television series A Country Parish, said: “Increasingly, there is nowhere to sit.

“More and more people have been coming along on a Sunday and on several occasions we have simply run out of pew-space.

“I am delighted to say a solution has arrived, from a place appropriately named SOS - Sudbury Office Supplies.

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“Very, very generously, Pauline Hume of Great Cornard has arranged for Sudbury Office Supplies to donate to us 50 new chairs in memory of her late husband, David Hume.

“The chairs are both comfortable and attractive. They are the answer that we've been praying for to a problem that we are very pleased to have.”

Mr Allen took time out from the ministry after the huge popularity of the television series took its toll on him and his wife Suzy and their three young daughters, Danielle, Carrie and Katy.

It led to a postbag of tens of thousands of letters seeking advice and spiritual help. Along with demands for a second series, he felt his ability to minister effectively in his Wiltshire parish “irrevocably compromised” and he resigned his minister's licence.

Last year the former DJ returned to ministry as vicar of St Andrew's Church, Great Cornard.

Three months ago the parish launched a £250,000 appeal to undertake emergency repairs to the roof and fabric of the building, as well as making the church a more community-focused building with the installation of a toilet, kitchen area and Sunday School room.

Mr Allen said: “People have responded with incredible generosity. In just three months, our funds have topped £30,000.

“This is an incredible achievement in which many people have been involved and we owe a big thank you to our community for such a fantastic start.”

Are you one of the crowded flock? What makes the services so popular? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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