England churches turn to camels to promote Christmas services

Several churches in England have resorted to showing "bizarre" nativity displays that include live camels and angels on stilts to promote their Christmas services and to make their holiday shows more exciting, according to insurers.

(REUTERS / Jumana ElHeloueh)Camels are seen as spectators place their bids on them during the "Camel Beauty Contest and Camel Race Festival" in Ajman. February 24, 2010.

Insurers Ecclesiastical, the insurer of most Anglican Churches in the United Kingdom, revealed that a lot of requests come in during the time leading to the Christmas season. The company's manager Helen Richards said some want to hold their nativity services in a barn, while others want to bring in real camels to their church, The Telegraph reported.

"One customer called to ask if they would be covered if they held their nativity service in a barn and another wanted to know if angels on stilts would be covered under their policy," said Richards. "My personal favourite is definitely whether we had any advice on bringing real camels in to the church! ... We are very much an enabler when it comes to things like this."

The somewhat bizarre inquiries to insurers come amidst a fall in church attendance across the U.K. Nevertheless, nativity services are still reportedly popular, and the Church of England has expressed delight at efforts to be more creative during these traditional gatherings.

Meanwhile, other churches are using interesting and even hilarious outdoor signs to bring in reluctant parishioners during the Christmas season. Some have used silly puns with references to "Star Wars," and others convey the message that Christmas is not the only time of the year that churches are open, The Daily Mail detailed.

Berea Baptist Church in Ohio has put up a sign reminding people that like Santa Claus, God has been "making a list and checking it twice" to see who has been naughty or nice. St. John Lutheran Church & School's sign said all the Lord wants for Christmas is the person one sees in the mirror.

The Apostolic Faith Church, on the other hand, bluntly reminded church goers that Jesus Christ was the center of Christmas because Santa Claus did not die for humanity. Lastly, Our Lady of Martyrs Catholic Church greeted all the Scrooges a Merry Christmas whether they were into the holiday or not.