Church celebrates birthday in betting shop


 An Anglican vicar in north London took something of a gamble yesterday when he held a service in a betting shop. It paid off - more than 50 people crammed into William Hill bookmakers in Camden Town, to celebrate the founding of the temporary St Michael's church in the shop, 125 years ago. Two guitarists accompanied the hymn-singing. Back in 1877, the Rev Edward Penfold bought the shop and began holding services there for his growing congregation, until the current St Michael's - a few yards away - was built. he turned the back room into a vestry and the flat upstairs was his vicarage. The premises later became a betting shop. Standing next to posters urging people to bet, Rev Nicholas Wheeler told the congregation: "I'm certainly not a gambling man myself. The only bet I am prepared to make is that St Michael's will still be here in 125 years, serving the community."

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