'Unchristian' Tai Chi class banned
Members of a Tai Chi class have been told they can no longer use a church hall because the gentle martial art is not consistent with the Christian faith.
Around 20 regulars at the weekly class have been meeting for about five months at All Saints' Church Hall in Totley, Sheffield, but they will now have to find another venue.
The vicar, the Rev David Rhodes, said Tai Chi was based in the Taoist faith and the church did not know what the class was about when the booking was first taken.
He told the Sheffield Telegraph: "Our understanding is that the basis of Tai Chi is an Eastern religion and from the church's point of view that isn't something that we want to be involved in."
He said the decision had been made by the church leadership team.
The group, which is mainly made up of older women, said they moved to the church hall from the local Conservative Club last year.
Members have complained, saying they only took up Tai Chi - which involves slow movements and controlled breathing - to keep fit.
Jennie Street, from the Totley Residents Association, said: "Some of the older people were very upset about it. They say they're just doing exercises and being healthy, it's got nothing to do with religion."