The 'unholy storm' over St-Matthew-in-the-City Church's 'Mary and Joseph' billboard has led to the return of its much less controversial 'Noah's Ark' themed sign welcoming LGBT church-goers.
A new Christmas-themed sign had gone up outside the central Auckland church last week, showing nativity figures Mary and Joseph in bed with the caption "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow." The sign was defaced with brown paint just hours after being installed, and has since been cut down twice, revealing the previous Noah's Ark billboard.
The church's vicar, Archdeacon Glynn Cardy said the new billboard was aimed at "challenging stereotypes" but has decided not to replace it a second time.
A small group of protesters met outside the church at lunchtime yesterday, but the controversial billboard had already been cut down again.
The Noah's Ark billboard is now likely to stay visible until well into the New Year. Showing many pairs of animals under a rainbow, it says "Welcoming two of every kind. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community services. Sundays 7.30pm. St Matthew-in-the-city."