Norwich URC Team Leader bids sausage roll Christmas 

Rev Ian Fosten, Norwich Area URC Group Leader, writes in support of Gregg's controversial image of a sausage roll in a manger, arguing that Jesus came to ordinary people in humble surroundings, and that is where we will continue to find him today. 

You might recently have heard a disturbing noise - Huff: Puff: BANG!

It coincided with Greggs the Baker launching an Advent calendar which featured a token for a different item from their shops for each of the twenty four days leading up to Christmas. Each door is decorated with suitably adapted Christmas scenes which incorporate the food item for the day. The door for December 24,which showed a Greggs' sausage roll (photo above) nestling down in the manger, was the one that set off that disturbing noise - Huff: Puff: BANG!

"Outrageous! Blasphemous! Bet they wouldn't do this to Muslims!" thundered the protests from some vociferous Christians, who once again demonstrated a persistent, wearisome tendency to hamper decent witness to a needy world by shooting us all in the foot (so to speak) - Huff: Puff: BANG!

Within the origins of Greggs the bakers lies a desire to provide good food inexpensively to people without a lot of money. Certainly my son Samuel is very partial to their 'Steak slice' - so, too, are the mugging herring gulls of Lowestoft - as he has twice found to his cost!

So, as an antidote to those other disturbing, unseasonal noises I offer these words:

A sausage roll in a manger
rests on the crib bed
where the little Lord Jesus
might have rested his head.
Some people were outraged,
"It's blasphemous!" they said,
with a shrug of his shoulders
the Lord Jesus declared:

"But it's food, cheap and tasty,
why would you find fault?
And it's much more in keeping
than halos and gilt.
To the ordinary I came, then,
to the ordinary I come, still,
so what better symbol
than a warm sausage roll?"

'Happy Greggsmas!' we say then,
as we wait in the queue
with the hungry and the scruffy
for the taste of good food.
Yes, with pastry and filling
we will savour your birth
and meet you in the ordinary
things of this earth.

Have a blessed, peaceful and warm sausage-rolly sort of Advent and Christmas.

Rev Ian Fosten is the Norwich Area United Reform Church Group Leader overseeing Princes Street URC, Ipswich Road URC, and Fairland URC, Wymondham.

Photo: Greggs.  After publication of its photo, Greggs apologised for any offence caused by the advert. 
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