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Last Updated: Monday, 1 September, 2003, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Church criticised over gun video
Pastor Paul Scanlon
Pastor Paul Scanlon who appears in the church video
An American-style church in Bradford has been criticised for its use of controversial videos in promoting its events.

In one video, the Pastor of the Abundant Life Church on Wapping Lane is seen driving his luxury sports car and waving a fake gun.

The church says its methods are designed to make religion more appealing and bring it into the current century.

More than 2,000 people pack into the building each Sunday for a service which starts with 20 minutes of adrenalin-pumping rock gospel.

The Bradford church's charismatic pastor, Dewsbury-born Paul Scanlon told BBC One's Inside Out programme that it had to reach people and their promotional material was about being relevant.

Some of the organisation's video images include pastor Paul in a stylish Lexus car with an imitation machine pistol.

But Canon Derek Jackson of Bradford Cathedral said he was "shocked and distressed" and it was "not Christian to see a pastor with a gun and a high speed car."

Abundant Life Centre
The Bradford base for Abundant Life
According to the latest Charities Commission report the Abundant Life Church had a turnover of more than 1m, but that was nearly two years ago and the church is still growing.

The church uses the strong financial base to send a mission bus crewed by women into the city's red light district offering street prostitutes food, clothing and friendly faces aiming to persuade the prostitutes there is another way of life.

The organisation also runs a weekly breakfast club for the poor and homeless.

By helping the disadvantaged Abundant Life believes it is serving God as the gospel intended, but it all requires cash.




SEE ALSO:
City gets floating church
25 Jul 03  |  London
Can burgers be faith food?
06 Jul 03  |  Cumbria


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