Fathers 4 Justice outlines plans to invade churches at Christmas

Fathers 4 Justice will attempt to recapture the headlines this Christmas with a national campaign of disobedience aimed at disrupting Church of England services.

The organisation's campaign, 'D-advent', will run for 24 days in December and will see protesters scale church roofs, stage sit-ins and deliver alternative services from the pulpits.

The group is accusing the Church of England of hypocrisy for preaching the importance of the family unit while doing nothing to prevent fathers being sidelined following the breakdown of marriages.

In July last year, Fathers 4 Justice stormed a General Synod service in York Minister, and last May members climbed St Paul's Cathedral in London. Representatives also met the then Archbishop of York, David Hope, but no progress was made.

"We're going to rattle more than their collection plates this Christmas," said Matt O'Connor, founder of Fathers 4 Justice.

The Church of England refused to be drawn on whether it was concerned about the threat or what steps it would be taking to limit the level of disorder.

"We understand the organisation's concerns, but we don't believe that what it is proposing is the way to further its cause," said a spokesman for the Archbishops' Council. "We do not wish to give it the oxygen of publicity by commenting any further."

Ray Barry, campaign co-ordinator at Fathers 4 Justice, said many children would be asking "Where is my father this Christmas?"

He added: "We are commanded by the church to honour our fathers and our mothers, yet fathers are being sidelined from christenings and confirmations, and the church plays little or no role in trying to prevent relationship breakdown within families."

Fathers 4 Justice unveiled its brand of campaigning two years ago with its now infamous "superhero" stunts. One member, David Chick, dressed up as Spiderman and scaled Tower Bridge in November 2003, while fellow campaigner Jason Hatch occupied a ledge on Buckingham Palace in September last year.

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