Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Keep Christmas real, says Bishop of Sodor and Man

Image caption The bishop said Christians had to set a good example

Christians who preach against poverty should set a better example, the Bishop of Sodor and Man has said in his Christmas Day sermon.

Preaching at St German's Cathedral in Peel, the Right Reverend Robert Patterson also said Christians should not be focusing on filling the pews.

"People need to see how words are expressed in action," he said.

He added: "They need to see the 'added value' of Christian commitment to making the world a better place."

The bishop continued: "For about 1,500 years Christians have been celebrating Advent as a time for stripping down, simplifying life in order to experience Christ in the simplicity of His coming, but we shop till we drop."

He told his flock: "It's no use the Church shouting from a distance that rich parts of the world have replaced Christ with a credit card, if we ourselves don't set an example."

The bishop said the Church should be less concerned by trying to "grow" and focus instead on "proclaiming the values of the Kingdom of God".

He added that society would not take the Church's words seriously on issues such as justice, the environment and poverty unless "we are seen to act on what we believe".

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