A controversial church movement which denounces homosexuality as a “sinful impulse” has opened in Sevenoaks, Kent.

The Redeemed Christian Church of God, which was founded in Nigeria in 1952, helds its first service in Sevenoaks’ Town Council offices on Sunday, led by pastor Tinuola Adeyemi.

The 47-year-old pastor, who described the church as “happy-clappy” and who is adamant that being gay is “a choice”, said she was surprised at the frosty reception she got when giving out promotional leaflets, the Sevenoaks Chronicle reports.

“People were generally polite but were hostile to the gospel,” she said, continuing: “Those who are very rich and intelligent in the world still commit suicide because they have no sense of purpose which God will give them.”

On gay people, the pastor said: “I do believe homosexuality is a choice.

“With certain choices we create problems for ourselves and for others. Intelligent people listen to new information and can change their minds and beliefs – they can be persuaded.”

Despite that nobody turned up to the first of its services on Sunday, Mrs Adeyemi said she was sure the church would take off, saying: “We are here to stay.”

The church in the past has been criticised by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell for its stance on homosexuality, and the general overseer of the church in January last year said he believes allowing gay couples to marry will wipe out humanity.