A congregation avoided electrocution when their church was struck by lightning during Christmas Day mass.

The Revd Stephen Northfield had just uttered the words 'let us pray' when the bolt struck All Saints Church in Ulting, near Hatfield Peverel.

Fortunately it was protected by lightning conductors and there was no damage to the 11th century building or any harm to the 26 worshippers.

Mr Northfield, who had been reading Our Lord’s Summary of the Law at the 9am service, said: "I said 'let us pray', then bang."