The Priory Church, Bolton Abbey

The Rector: Do your Wurst

The Rector

Bolton Abbey Parish Magazine

December 2017 – January 2018

Do your Wurst

In the middle of November the bakery chain Greggs launched andvent Calendar. Its publicity campaign included an image depicting
the three wise men gathered around a crib containing a sausage roll. It is fair to say that reaction was mixed: the social media group
Christians on Twitter described the advert as ‘disrespectful’; the Freedom Association (curiously one might think, given its name)
called for a boycott of what it described as a ‘sick, anti-Christian calendar’. On the other hand a member of the clergy commented in
a national newspaper that ‘the ability to receive (the calendar) in good part is a sign of grace’.

Personally I was mildly amused that a bakery chain was marketing an Advent Calendar in the first place (though I was astonished at the
price of £24). As to being offended, I couldn’t really see what the fuss was about: I simply do not consider a parody of a nativity scene
a threat to my faith. A few days before Greggs launched the advertisement, news began to emerge of the extent and violence of
recent attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt. This is the true face of persecution. By comparison, a rather vulgar advertisement is hardly
life threatening.

The time when Christians in the United Kingdom should really start to worry is when a major retailer’s advertising campaign can no
longer rely on the traditional imagery of the Christmas story to sell its goods because nobody any longer knows the story. Keeping that
story alive is the real, urgent, and long-term challenge for our faith, not a rather gimmicky and ephemeral marketing ploy.

Anne joins me in wishing you all a blessed Christmas and peaceful New Year.

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