Bishop unveils UK's largest Christmas ad

The Bishop of Bolton has unveiled the UK's largest Christmas advert in Manchester.

The advert is part of the 'Christmas Starts with Christ' campaign and measures the length of three buses.

It shows three contemporary images of the nativity - an atmospheric oil painting by Andrew Gadd of the nativity set at a bus stop, an ultrasound scan of the baby Jesus with the tag line "He is coming", and a giant plastic doll with the tag line "He cries. He wees. He saves the world".

The ad appears on scaffolding at the side of St Ann's Church in the heart of Manchester's shopping and commercial district.

Members the public are being asked to vote for their favourite image at www.christmasnearyou.com

Bishop Chris Edmondson said: "It is important that the true message of Christmas is not forgotten. The Christmas story is presented in three very different ways by these images.

"But the truth they present is eternal - that at Christmas we celebrate Jesus who, as the Son of God, came in human form.

"He was born in a place of poverty but changed the world through his life, death and resurrection."

The ad has been sponsored by the Diocese of Manchester in partnership with the Church of England Communications Unit, churchads.net, St Ann's Church Manchester and Churches Together in Greater Manchester.

The Rector of St Ann's, the Reverend Nigel Ashworth, said: "We were delighted to provide the space free of charge to the campaign. St Ann's tower marks the geographical centre of Manchester. So literally and in a unique way we have managed to put the Christmas message at the heart of this great city."

Francis Goodwin, from Churchads.net, said: "We asked some of the top advertising people in the business to help us break through all the commercialism to challenge people, inspire them and communicate the true message of Christmas to millions. Each of these striking images will speak to different people in different ways."

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