North Wales pastor in unholy council over controversial church signs

A pastor in North Wales has been embroiled in an unholy row with a council for posting provocative signs outside his church which were deemed as advertising.

(Wikimedia Commons/Jonathan Wilkins)Ebenezer Chapel — a neat building in a green enclave. July 27, 2007.

Rev. Bob Marshall of Ebenezer Baptist Chapel in Buckley is facing the possibility of a legal action if he does not apply for advertisement consign for his controversial church signs, according to Flintshire council's chief of planning, Andrew Farrow. While the pastor puts up these signs to make people smile, the council thinks they are a form of advertisement, The Daily Post details.

The current sign outside the Ebenezer church says: "Too many people have a strong will and a weak will not." Another previous sign read: "Honk if you love Jesus: Text while driving if you want to meet him."

Rev. Marshall has insisted that the church slogans are not advertisements, and pointed out that the establishment is a church, not a business. He also said the signs, which are changed every week, are posted on the church property.

For the pastor, the council's move is a petty one which aims to merely show the community who is in charge. He has been posting the signs for a few years now, so he does not understand why the council has chosen to make him secure advertising consent only recently. Farrow, on the other hand, released a letter maintaining that advertisement consent would have to be secured.

"I can confirm that advertisement consent would be required and having checked the planning records it would appear no consent has been sought or granted," Farrow says in a letter dated Nov. 14. "... In the circumstances, you will need to apply for advertisement consent."

This is not the first time that Rev. Marshall has been involved in a controversy over his church signs. In October, he put up a sign saying: "Forgiveness is swallowing when you want to spit!" The Sun reports.

After realizing the unintended innuendo that the sign carried, he apologized to his parishioners and took down the slogan after it was blown over by the wind. He explained that he had no idea that it had a double meaning because he was merely thinking about forgiveness.