ATHEISTS might have got the buses, but Christians are being urged to take over bus stops in the run-up to Christmas.
The plan has been hatched by ChurchAds.net, previously the Church Advertising Network, as part of its campaign under the slogan: “Christmas starts with Christ”.
The group is encouraging congregations to pay £105 to display a poster on a bus shelter of their choice. Then, on 22 December, the group suggests hosting a carol-singing session at the stop. With enough backing, it says, the occasion might be “the country’s largest-ever carol-singing event”.
Is this something your church or group could consider?
The poster is a painting by Andrew Gadd of the Holy Family in a modern-day version of the stable, a bus shelter. It was launched two years ago, and was used widely last year. Since then, British humanists have carried out a “There’s probably no God” poster campaign on the sides of buses.
The Christmas posters will be complemented by a selection of four radio commercials, which groups of churches can sponsor jointly for broadcast on local radio.
David Marshall, communications officer for the diocese of Manchester, is promoting the campaign. He said that the goal was to get the poster on 2000 bus shelters, together with 2500 airings for the radio commercials.
Theos, a Christian research organisation said, “only 12 per cent of adults have knowledge of the facts of the Christmas story in detail; so hopefully this retelling of the nativity story will communicate the Christmas message.”
ChurchAds.net is an ecumenical network, supported by the Jerusalem Trust, which uses professionals from the advertising and communications industries.
IN addition, Ecclesiastical Insurance has linked up with ChurchAds.net to launch a national competition for the best new Christmas carol.
The competition is in response to a negative view of carol-singing, suggested by a YouGov poll commissioned by Ecclesiastical. Although 41 per cent said that they wanted the tradition of door-to-door carolling to continue, 22 per cent said they wanted it to stop.
Only two per cent said that they planned to go from door to door this Christmas, although a further 17 per cent said that they would take part in some form of carol-singing at a service or concert.
For the new competition, the carol should be in any musical style, but not last longer than four minutes. The winner will receive a £1000 prize and have the carol performed on his or her doorstep.
More information at www.ChurchAds.net