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Bishop of Manchester unveils controversial payday loan Christmas ad

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd David Walker, has launched a Church-backed national advertising campaign with a focus on payday loans …

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd David Walker, has launched a Church-backed national advertising campaign with a focus on payday loans.

The Bishop unveiled the UK’s biggest outdoor religious Christmas ad depicting a simple payday loan cheque and the words ‘Does Christmas have to start with a payday loan? No! Christmas Starts with Christ’.
The ad, which is 40 feet high and the length of three buses (106 feet long), is part of the ‘Christmas Starts with Christ’ poster campaign which runs until Christmas. Millions of people are expected to see the ad which will be fixed to scaffolding on the side of St Ann’s Church at the heart of Manchester’s shopping and commercial centre.
Hundreds of other sites across the UK will carry the posters.
The Rt Revd David Walker said: “It is important that the true message of Christmas is not forgotten. We are asking people to pause and to remember that Christmas does not start with high interest loans or Christmas specials on TV. Christmas Starts with Christ. We encourage people to find out more about the Christmas story at a local church.”
Francis Goodwin, a key figure behind the Christmas Starts with Christ campaign, said: “Just 12 per cent of adults know the nativity story; and 36 per cent of children do not know whose birthday is being celebrated during the festival. With 51 per cent of people now saying that the birth of Jesus is irrelevant to their Christmas, a tipping point has been reached. 

"Christmas is being lost to secularism and the trend is for this to get worse. So we asked some of the top advertising people in the business to help us challenge people and remind us all what Christmas is really about. The Christmas Starts with Christ Campaign does just that.”
The Rector of St Ann’s, Revd Nigel Ashworth, said; “We are very happy to provide the space, free of charge, putting the Christmas message so visibly at the heart of this great city.”
The UK’s biggest ad has been sponsored by the Diocese of Manchester in partnership with The Church of England Communications Unit,, St Ann’s Church and Churches Together in Greater Manchester.

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