‘Laugh your way into God’s Kingdom'. That is the message from a South Woodford vicar ahead of a free stand up comedy gig in his church.

Father Robert Hampson of Holy Trinity Church in Hermon Hill is paying comedian Joe Fisher to perform his act in the church hall on Saturday night.

Entrance to the event is free, and Rev Hampson says he hopes Mr Fisher, who describes his brand of humour as family friendly, will bring people closer to God.

He explained: “I believe one of the central necessities of life is joy and if your religion takes you away from joy, then it fails.

“I laugh a lot and that is what God wants.”

Rev Hampson says he is a good judge of comedy because he once performed stand up himself.

He said: “It was while I was a student at LSE. I performed a few times and it went down well.

“I have seen Joe on a couple of occasions and he’s very funny. He’s a Christian, but his act isn’t about religion.”

Mr Fisher has previously appeared on regional TV shows during Children in Need.

He has also performed for audiences as diverse as Kent Police, fans at a Will Young pop concert, and once appeared at the Albert Hall.

Doors to the gig open at 7pm.

Wine, tea, coffee and soft drinks will be available at a small charge but people are welcome to bring their own drinks and glasses.