He's on His Way
With Christmas on the way, advertisers are already encouraging us to buy their products using billboards, TV and radio. This year, among all the consumer-led advertising, there will be one exception.
A scan of baby Jesus in the womb with the slogan ‘He’s on His way’ is this year’s image for the Christmas starts with Christ campaign. A national initiative involving the Church of England, Methodist, United Reformed and Baptist Churches, the aim is to replace the usual consumer-led advertising with posters and radio messages sharing the true meaning of Christmas.
There is no doubt that the 2010 campaign will capture people's attention, generate headlines and create countless conversations about the true meaning of Christmas.
The campaign was devised by ChurchAds.net, who worked alongside church organisations in response to research that showed that whilst 85 per cent of people agree with the statement ‘Christmas should be called Christmas because we are still a Christian country,’ only 12 per cent of adults know the facts of the Christmas story in any detail.
The campaign has already caused controversy, leading ChurchAds.net to respond to accusations that it entered into the abortion debate saying, “we would like to stress that the poster is not, in any way, designed to either support or campaign against abortion,’ and that instead the ad, ‘announces the imminent birth of the Christ child in the way that many modern day parents choose to announce the coming birth of their own child. Theologically, we aim to convey something of the humanity and the divinity of Christ, while pointing to his relevance for today.”
Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Reading adds, "For many parents pregnancy gets real when you see the image from the ultrasound scan. It tells you something is actually kicking off. We've got so used to the tinsel wrapped cosiness of the carefully packaged 21st century consumer-fest Christmas that its astonishing reality – an actual pregnancy, a God come down to earth – is easily missed. But this image demands attention. So does this child. He's on his way."
Individual churches or groups of churches are already rolling out the 2010 campaign in their own communities by ‘buying a bus stop’ for £150 for the two weeks in the run up to Christmas. The 2009 campaign, on posters and radio, was supported by over 700 churches reaching 20 million people.
Churches can buy their poster online or by post at http://www.churchads.net/
Individuals can also donate to the campaign.
Churches Together in Great Crosby (CTIGC) is buying two bus stop posters this year, sharing the cost between five churches equally. Rev Pete Spiers from St Luke’s, one of the churches involved, said, “We did this last year because as a group we liked the picture and thought it was imaginative and thought-provoking and it is equally as striking this year. We also recognise that lots of people will see it, and it is a great investment which we believe will make people think. Although they might not come along to a Christmas event at any of our churches, it might be something they will talk about with others.”
Christmas Starts with Christ at a glance
• The 2009 campaign involved a picture of the modern day nativity taking place in a bus shelter.
• The 2010 poster is based on the fact that in the 21st century, proud parents-to-be announce the coming birth by showing friends and family the scan of the baby. The Baby Scan Jesus poster uses this convention to place the birth of Christ in an ultra-contemporary context.
• Even if you choose not to ‘buy a bus stop’ you can download posters and Jpegs for free from the ChurchAds.net website to print and display, use in worship, turn into cards or service invitations or incorporate in other items you are producing.
To find out more about Christmas Starts With Christ or about buying a bus stop, visit http://www.churchads.net/
Media Manager at the Diocese of Liverpool
0151 705 2150