Published: 13:00, 20 May 2014
A minister has apologised after a ‘blacked up’ dummy was used to promote Christian Aid week.
The model was placed in a window display at the Maidstone United Reformed Church, in Week Street, but was taken down after people waking past complained.
Onlookers say they saw a lady paint the white tailor’s dummy, which was holding a black baby doll, with a brown varnish to make it look "African".
Onlooker Charlotte Jacks, from Goudhurst, was offended by the artwork.
The 28-year-old, who has a four-and-a-half-year-old daughter of mixed race, said: “Why would anyone do that? It’s so bad it’s almost a joke. I hope they take it down immediately.”
The entrance to the church is down an alley and the display is in what was once a shop at the mouth of the alley, but is now part of the church.
The Reverend Andrew Royal, the minister of Maidstone United Reformed Church, was forced to apologise and said there was no “intention to cause offence”.
He added: “I would like to apologise on behalf of Maidstone United Reformed Church for any offence caused by the church window display that was put up for Christian Aid week.
“I would like to apologise on behalf of Maidstone United Reformed Church for any offence caused by the church window display" - Rev Andrew Royal
“It was not our intention to cause offence - and we have removed the mannequin from the church window. I am extremely sorry for any hurt that was caused.”
The dummy has now been removed.
Christian Aid week is an annual event run by a several churches nationwide, which helps raise funds for less-fortunate people across the world.
Last year, 20,000 churches raised £12million for the cause.
The charity has declined to comment.
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