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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 February, 2004, 11:03 GMT
TV priest backed over calendar
The Rev Christine Musser is vicar of Boscastle
The stars of a calendar featuring semi-naked builders, produced to raise cash for a north Cornwall parish, have defended their vicar from criticism.

Reverend Christine Musser, 48, who took over the seaside parish of Boscastle last year, revealed on Wednesday that she had received letters calling for her to resign after backing the calendar.

Divorcee Mrs Musser, star of BBC's A Seaside Parish, said criticism over the calendar was "inevitable".

Calendar producer Raymond Rogers praised the bravery of Mrs Musser, who appears on the front of the calendar backed by partially-clothed local builders.

There's no way we would do anything to embarrass the Church
Raymond Rogers

He said: "It was our idea to raise money for the parish.

"But there's nothing sordid about it. It's extremely tasteful.

"There's no way we would do anything to embarrass the Church."

He added: "There were one or two vaguely suggestive pictures, but they were censored before they even got to press."

The calendar features 24 local builders in stages of undress, along with "spiritual words" underneath.

Rev Christine Musser
The images are innocuous say calendar producers
It has so far raised 4,000 for the parish and organisers expect it to top 9,000.

Mr Rogers said: "The vicar is her own person, and a courageous one.

"This calendar has shown the viability of the 'Calendar Girls' concept in raising money for the Church."

Mrs Musser has said she will be staying put, despite the hostility.

She said: "I thought I was going to come in for some flak from it because, if you put yourself in a public role, I guess you are going to find others that disagree with you.

"But the overwhelming response from the majority of people far outweighs the negative responses."

She said: "Nudity and the Church are not traditionally linked, but to my mind, it was a group of guys who don't come to church, but are very much part of the community who wanted to show their support for their community church.

"How could I not support them?"

Rev Christine Musser speaks to BBC Radio Cornwall
"I thought I was going to come in for some flak"

Hate mailers target TV priest
18 Feb 04  |  Cornwall
Seaside priest is TV star
01 Feb 04  |  Cornwall



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