The church making its home in a Bolton pub in an attempt to reverse declining worshipper numbers

A pub in Bolton has a new set of regulars to serve as they swap the pew for bar stool when it doubles as a church on a Sunday morning.

The Mosely Arms in Breighmet is now the venue for weekly worship - an informal alternative to traditional church in the heart of the community .

It is part of the Church of England's 'New Life' initiative which hopes to attract a new congregation of people who would not normally go to church.

"A building like this is the centre of a community often," Revd Ben Woodfield, the vicar of New Life Church, says.

"People have done many things here, they've celebrated weddings, and it's been a part of people's lives, so to have church here is just beautiful."

While the early risers sing and worship together, the pub's landlady is getting ready to pull pints for the regulars.

She says they have offered a warm welcome to the newcomers.

"One or two regulars have started coming to church that would never have gone to church," Bernadette Bates adds.

"At first they thought I was mad, it's never going to work, but they're quite happy they mix with them.

"They come in and have a chat and something to eat."

Following the service at the Mosley Arms, the traditional tea and biscuits have been replaced with pasties and pints - or juice - in the main bar.

  • The congregation explain why they enjoy going to church in a pub

The watering hole is helping the Anglican church work out how to reverse a decline in attendance that has halved in the past 30 years.

Revd Ben Woodfield says it has been great at bringing people in who would not normally attend a service in a traditional building.

He adds: "There's about 10 to 12 folks who've never been to church who just find themselves part of the church community now and have been coming every week.

"A couple of those people who are teenagers who are getting themselves out of bed on a Sunday morning. I'm a vicar and I struggle to get myself out of bed on a Sunday morning."

The church has made its home in the function room of the Mosley Arms in Bolton.

Bernadette says although many thought she was mad for agreeing to the idea, it has been really successful.

"There's people coming in who wouldn't normally go to church, they feel more comfortable," she says.

"They're relaxed, their children are happy, there's activities out for them to do, to occupy them and they're not sat there bored.

"They like it, I think it'll work well."