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07 December 2010

Sheep point to the shepherd in Liverpool city centre

Sheep point to the shepherd in Liverpool city centre

Liverpool One shopping centre stores John Lewis, Waterstones, Debenhams, WH Smith and GAP are just some of the 12 stores affected by the sudden appearance of sheep in Liverpool's city centre.

But there is no need to dive for cover-this is a peaceful invasion of sheep helping families to find the shepherd.

Bit by bit at Advent in recent years, Jesus has been squeezed out of the city centre, but this year a new way has been found to reintroduce the Nativity story and the real meaning of Christmas.

Liverpool has a culture of city trails-Superlambananas and Penguins have adorned the streets in the past, and all ages have enjoyed hunting for them. But this year a new trail has jumped to the attention of Christmas shoppers: the Messy Nativity Sheep Trail.

But there is nothing woolly about this trail. The sheep that are waiting to be found in leading stores in Liverpool One shopping centre are part of BRF's Messy Church flock. Their aim is to encourage families to rediscover that first Christmas through trail questions and a prize draw, which takes place on 22 December.

Jane Leadbetter of Messy Church said: "We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Liverpool One to share the Christmas message."

Messy Church is part of BRF, a Registered Charity, which started in a Portsmouth parish in 2004 and is now growing internationally. Its concept is simple: fun, food, crafts and worship that bring all ages together, creating a fun-filled community outside traditional Sunday worship.

Karen Laister, BRF Deputy CEO, said: "BRF is committed to finding new and exciting ways to help people engage with the Bible. This is a fantastic way to bring the Christmas message to the people of Liverpool. It is our hope that more cities across the UK will enjoy the trail next Christmas."