Kentucky megachurch sends out first batch of love letters to Britney Spears

Members of the Kentucky megachurch whose pastor asked them to support Britney Spears "the way Jesus loves her" are sending out the first few batches of letters carrying messages of love and encouragement.

Southland Christian Church has made contact with someone in Spears' organisation to make sure she would see the messages, according to church spokeswoman Cindy Willison in a report by the Herald-Leader.

Church officials have not counted the exact number of letters but are sending them out in batches, said Willison.

Two months ago, Southland pastor Jon Weece asked his congregation of 8,000 to "take a few minutes and write a note to Britney Spears. No preaching. No criticising. Just love."

Willison said the report was picked up by publications across the country and resulted in as many as 100 positive responses with many asking if they could also join in the Southland mailing to Spears.

One Louisiana resident said that she is sending written prayers and letters from her children to the church in hopes they will reach Spears.

"I think it's fabulous. I believe they are doing exactly what Jesus would do," said Tammy Harlan. "I wish more churches would reach out."

Critics say the church is trying to get publicity through the outreach and should focus more on taking care of people in the local area.

Willison defended Southland's position, saying, "This is just one example of what we do all the time."

She noted that the church provides clothing and furniture weekly and offers programmes for people struggling with addictions.