Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Monday, 18 October 2010 17:50 UK
Plymouth Brethren building in Shropshire
Brethren meeting house
The Brethren say having no windows is not 'sinister'

Members of the Plymouth Brethren in Shropshire say a new meeting house has been built in the county because their numbers are growing.

Eddie Maxim, an elder with the Christian organisation, said they had about 150 members in Shropshire.

There are already three meeting halls in Shrewsbury and a new one was needed as more families move to the county.

Mr Maxim said the growth was good for the wider community as families would also bring their businesses with them.

The new hall, just outside Shrewsbury on the A458, has no windows. However, Mr Maxim said there was "nothing sinister" about that.

He said: "It's a case of its position - rather exposed - so security would come into it. The important thing about all our rooms are the people in it."

"Ordinary people"

The other Brethren meeting houses are on The Mount in Shrewsbury, in Bicton Heath and on Betton Street in Belle Vue.

We are a caring, coordinated community that's based on the family, love, good works... we're not bad, we're ordinary people
Rod Buckley from the Brethren

The Bible is central to the lives of the Brethren. Families worship in groups of 50 and gather at meeting halls for prayer and worship every day.

Members of the Plymouth (or Exclusive) Brethren do not eat and drink with people outside the fellowship, and families do not own televisions, because of their views on entertainment.

The group are sometimes criticised for their practices, particularly when a member wants to leave the community. Former Brethren have described the process as difficult and painful.

Defending the Plymouth Brethren, spokesman Rod Buckley said: "We are a caring, coordinated community that's based on the family, love, good works... we're not bad, we're ordinary people."




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