[h=1]Tesco's pennies from heaven at the church that became a supermarket[/h] From the outside it still looks like the church it used to be. Inside, however, the stained glass windows that once inspired worshippers now look down incongruously on shelves of cigarettes, alcohol and food. And in the aisle where blushing brides once walked, shoppers now jostle each other in the search for a bargain. Sign of the times? The Tesco Express store in Westbourne You can even buy a lottery ticket at the former Methodist church where religious services have been replaced by services of a more commercial nature since it became a Tesco supermarket. The firm may be making much more profit than the previous owners ever got from the collection tin. But for some, the sight of a supermarket operating from inside a church building is a commercial development too far. The former church, which had been empty for three years, was reopened as a Tesco Express last November. It was a controversial move which outraged some members of the community who criticised the expansion of the supermarket giant in Westbourne, Bournemouth. Reverend Dr Bob McKinley, former minister at the church, said it was sad to see the building become a shop. But he added: Although it is sad, it is only a building. You could say it is not appropriate to have a Tesco Express in it but once it is sold it is no longer under our control. Let us pay: Shoppers queue up at the tills of the former church James Rippon, a 36-year-old accountant who lives nearby, said at the time of the opening: It just seems such a shame for this beautiful building to be turned into a Tesco. It seems like you cant go anywhere in England today without being within spitting distance of one. I understand that having the building empty is no good for anyone, but it seems odd that a former church is being used to sell cigarettes, alcohol and lottery tickets. It feels like just another step in the increasing marginalisation of Christianity in our community. I suppose it represents peoples priorities nowadays the convenience of being able to buy their bread a few miles closer is more important than prayer and religion. When the branch was opened a Tesco spokesman would not say if the firm planned to target the increasing number of derelict churches for new branches, but said the Westbourne store was proving to be extremely popular with our customers. Sandra Jones, manager of the nearby Help The Aged charity shop, said: If the church could have been used for something else I would have been delighted but who else has the money to bring it up to scratch? The building looks beautiful now and theyve really cleaned it up, but its just a shame its Tesco. The decision to open the store has been supported by some members of the Westbourne Traders Association, who hope it will attract more shoppers to the area. But Rob Forbes, owner of family-run Seamoor News, said: I have to cross myself every time I walk past it.