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09 September 2013

Churches reveal 2013 Christmas campaign

While Christmas may still seem a way off, Christmas starts with Christ, a church-backed campaign has been launched.

In a slightly new direction, posters will ask people to think about when Christmas starts. Is it the traditional fight on Eastenders, or when Christmas ads appear in October? Or is it the office party? The posters will challenge the viewer to realise that none of these mark the real start of Christmas.

Following survey findings which reveal that 51 per cent of people now say that the birth of Jesus is irrelevant to their Christmas, leading denominations are to unite this autumn to reverse the trend and focus on 'saving Christmas'.

Christmas starts with Christ will run from 1 December to Christmas Day. There will be logos, resources, Christmas cards, a chocolate advent calendar with a copy of the Christmas story in the box, a national advertising campaign using posters and radio adverts.

Recent surveys have shown that just 12 per cent of adults know the nativity story in any depth; and 36 per cent of children do not know whose birthday is being celebrated during the festival.

A movement made up of some of the nation's leading Christian groups, including the Church of England, Traidcraft, the Methodist Church, the Bible Society, and the Evangelical Alliance is coming together because they recognise something must be done. Leading the campaign is ChurchAds.net – the group behind the annual Christmas advertising poster campaigns.

Francis Goodwin, of ChurchAds.net, said: "Christmas is such an important part of the Church calendar and it is a time when Christians shine light in their communities. But the good news is being lost. We can't sit back and let that happen. We cannot let the nation lose the real meaning of Christmas; and we are passionate about bringing the Church together for this cause to remind everyone that Christmas starts with Christ."

Resources will be available to help churches make the most of the 25 days of Advent – 25 days to share the Christmas story and remind people that Christmas starts with Christ.

Arun Arora, director of communications at the Church of England, said: "At Christmas time thousands of churches around the country do a huge amount to carry the Christmas story into their local communities, through word and deed. The vision for the Christmas starts with Christ campaign is to use a common logo to join the dots of these activities and project a powerful message to our entire nation that the reason for the season is the birth of Jesus."

A radio advert will be released later this month which can be downloaded and churches can customise posters for free.