The rumour that the Royal Mail may be encouraged to stop printing religious stamps at Christmas is completely unfounded; and the request to circulate it has been extraordinarily unhelpful. I and other colleagues involved with the Church have now received copies of the ‘offending para’ from outside of St Albans diocese; (I don’t know where it started from but it is doing the rounds). And it has probably taken the best part of the the last 48 hours to contain this – as the Mail on Sunday got hold of it too. ……
I think what concerns me most is that the email came from and was circulated to Christians/ ministerial colleagues – and until [names] got in touch, there was an assumption that the note was true. No-one in Royal Mail group gets up in the morning with the negative motivation implied – and certainly not the directors who take these decisions. You would not believe the contortions we go through to try to support and to please the particular community we are trying to serve – in this case the Christian one. (Many of us are Christians and our faith is critical to the way we do business.)
What follows below this note, is our response statement. We took a decision after last year, to have Christian stamps every year at Christmas (see below for a brief explanation). It is difficult to ensure that our external communications reach all audiences and so I would be happy to answer any queries on this; and time permitting, come along and speak to the diocese, if you feel people may like to know more about the Christmas/ postage or community impacts (Post Office closures, etc) of the Post Office/ Royal Mail Group.
But in the meantime, as we say below, any help you can give in restoring the balance would be much appreciated. I don’t have all the addresses of those who received [the] original mail …… Please could you pass on the statement below (and this note if it helps) to anyone you or they may have copied the original mail to.
Thank you in anticipation of your support and best wishes for a very Christian Christmas!
The Revd Paula Vennells, Network Director, The Post Office
(Incidentally, we were rather surprised at the suggestion that the angels were only “vaguely Christian”. I’m sending you a presentation pack of the stamps. Have a read inside and let me know what you think.)
Royal Mail statement:
‘We have become aware of an incorrect assertion being made about the motives behind the sales of our Christmas stamps. There is absolutely no intention on our part to suppress sales of the Madonna and Child stamps in order to be able to claim there is low demand for religious stamps in future years. Indeed, we have produced tens of millions of them, and we want to sell them!! We have given publicity to both types of Christmas stamps, and the availability of both has been widely covered in the national and local press. Furthermore we plan to have the Madonna and Child stamps available every Christmas in future, alongside each year’s “special” set, which will continue to alternate between religious and secular themes.
Any help you can give in restoring the balance would be much appreciated.
Jonathan Evans OBE, Company Secretary, Royal Mail Group
This from David Faulkner’s blog.
I have to admit, the fact that so many people just forwarded on stuff like this without checking it out continues to amaze me.
To the people at the Post Office / Royal mail – if you could add this to your press releases page that would be very useful as it gives us bloggers something to point people to.