Wide­spread back­ing for cin­ema ad cam­paign

The Church of England - - NEWS -

CHRIS­TIAN lead­ers across the UK have lent their sup­port to the Church of Eng­land over the ban im­posed by Dig­i­tal Cin­ema Me­dia (DCM) over a one-minute ad­ver­tise­ment pro­mot­ing Chris­tian prayer in cine­mas across the UK the week be­fore Christ­mas.

The ad was re­leased as part of the Church of Eng­land’s launch of www.justpray.uk, a “new web­site to pro­mote the re­newal of prayer in a dig­i­tal age,” and was due to be screened in Odeon, Cineworld and Vue cine­mas ahead of show­ings of Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens be­fore Christ­mas.

How­ever, DCM, which han­dles cin­ema ad­ver­tis­ing for the cine­mas— rep­re­sent­ing 80 per cent of UK movie screens — last week told the Church of Eng­land that it would not show the Lord’s Prayer film be­cause it had in­tro­duced a new pol­icy in the wake of the Scot­tish Ref­er­en­dum of not screen­ing po­lit­i­cal or re­li­gious ad­ver­tis­ing in its cine­mas on the grounds that th­ese ads risked up­set­ting or of­fend­ing au­di­ences.

The Moder­a­tor of the Pres­by­te­rian Church in Ire­land, Dr Ian McNie, told the Belfast City Coun­cil he ap­plauded the “Church of Eng­land on its ini­tia­tive to pro­mote the Lord’s Prayer in this way, a prayer that was given to us by the Lord Je­sus Christ him­self.

“This prayer is used daily by bil­lions of peo­ple through­out our world as a prayer thank­ing God for who he is, and the seek­ing of per­sonal guidance and for­give­ness for our lives in a frac­tured and tur­bu­lent world.”

He added: “Un­doubt­edly many Chris­tians will be dis­mayed by this de­ci­sion, al­though not sur­prised. How­ever, it is my prayer that this neg­a­tive ini­tial re­sponse from the ad­ver­tis­ing com­pany will be turned into a pos­i­tive ap­pre­ci­a­tion and un­der­stand­ing of the im­por­tance of prayer. This de­ci­sion takes on a more poignant mean­ing, es­pe­cially at this time of year as we ap­proach Christ­mas, when we cel­e­brate the birth of Je­sus Christ who en­cour­aged us to pray in this way.”

The Primus of the Scot­tish Epis­co­pal Church told the BBC Ra­dio Scot­land’s “Good Morn­ing Scot­land” pro­gramme that he had watched the film and was “per­son­ally moved by it.”

The Most Rev David Chilling­worth, Bishop of St An­drews, Dunkeld and Dun­blane, noted the film showed “a very di­verse group of peo­ple. They con­nect their ev­ery­day life and work to the Lord’s Prayer. This is not an at­tempt to pack­age or to ‘sell’ re­li­gion. Rather it seeks to help peo­ple to make con­nec­tions be­tween life and faith.”

He ob­served that Europe and the UK were “liv­ing through a time of great sen­si­tiv­ity about faith is­sues. The ter­ri­ble events in Paris last week demon­strate that re­li­giously mo­ti­vated violence is one of the great chal­lenges of our age. “

Bishop Chilling­worth stated it was “not in the best in­ter­ests of our so­ci­ety that we should cul­ti­vate ex­ces­sive sen­si­tiv­ity about what can be ex­pressed. We all need to be able to look at and ap­pre­ci­ate the in­tegrity of one an­other’s faith.

“Most of all we need to be able to dis­tin­guish good re­li­gion from bad and not make the mis­take of as­sum­ing that all re­li­gion must be seen as po­ten­tially of­fen­sive.”

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