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Last Updated: Monday, 12 July, 2004, 19:56 GMT 20:56 UK
Church wants end to Santa stamps
Clergy at the Synod
The motion was passed unanimously by the clergy
The Church of England is calling on the Royal Mail to limit the design of Christmas stamps to Christian themes.

Past Christmas designs have included snowmen, holly and skating scenes - to the annoyance of some church members.

A motion at the church's synod said that as 71% of British people described themselves as Christian, such secular designs should stop.

Royal Mail said its Christmas stamps reflected the multi-faith society of modern Britain.

The motion, which was carried unanimously, said: "That this Synod, noting that over 71% of the population of the UK declared themselves to be Christian in the 2001 census, request the Royal Mail to issue Christmas stamps with Christian themes every year."

The choice of subject matter is part of the divine process in which we consult a wide variety of people
Royal Mail

Since introducing Christmas stamps in 1966, there have been 21 Christian-themes stamps and 16 secular, Royal Mail said.

The design for this year is secular and 2005 will be religious.

Canon Dr Christina Baxter, principal of St John's Theology College in Nottingham, who tabled the motion, told delegates: "We are asking for a religious stamp every year at Christmas.

"Christmas is a Christian festival and the most important one at that."

A Royal Mail spokesman welcomed the interest shown by the Church, and maintained its "multi-faith" stance.

"The Royal Mail issued the first Christmas stamp in 1966 and since then we have varied stamp designs each year to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

"Although Christmas is a Christian festival we live in a multi-faith society.

"There is no set programme to the choice of religious or secular themes and the choice of subject matter is part of the design process in which we consult a wide variety of people," he added.

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