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St Matthew-in-the-City pushes the envelope again

Wednesday 14 Dec 2011 5:02 p.m.

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By Amanda Gillies

A billboard put up outside an Auckland church has been labelled "weird" and "inappropriate".

It shows the Virgin Mary clearly shocked as she looks at a positive pregnancy test - but it's not the first time the church has courted controversy.

It's supposed to be the Virgin Mary's moment of epiphany.

"I think it's really weird," one person told 3 News. "I don't think it's that appropriate to have outside a church."

"It's weird, but not really offensive," said another.

"Well, I obviously don't agree with it being weird and creepy," says Glynn Cardy, vicar at of St Matthew-in-the-City, who came up with the idea for the billboard.

"It's trying to make people think about Christmas and to then think compassionately and kindly about people in a similar situation."

He means young, pregnant and struggling.

Now more than 2000 years after she gave birth, this billboard has made the Virgin Mary a talking point on Facebook.

"There's a competition going about what sort of caption we should have underneath it," says Mr Cardy. "Oeople got all sorts of weird ideas on that one, from the blasphemous to the witty as you can imagine."

Two years ago, the church put up another controversial billboard – this one had Joseph and Mary in bed. It was labelled "offensive", "perverse" and "the work of the devil".

It was vandalised three times before it was taken down, and the Advertising Standards Authority received a number of complaints.

But the authority declined to uphold the complaints, saying the billboard was controversial, but it wasn't obscene.

A lot like this one.

3 News

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