UK
13/05/2014 11:42 BST | Updated 13/05/2014 11:59 BST

Church Uses 'Blacked-Up' Mannequin to Promote Christian Aid Week (PICTURES)

A church has apologised after using a “blacked-up” mannequin for a display promoting a charity drive.

The white tailor’s dummy, holding a black baby doll, was arranged in the window of the Maidstone United Reformed Church in Kent – and then painted with brown varnish by the window dresser.

The display was put together to promote Christian Aid Week – an annual charitable event taking place in the second week of May.

blackedup mannequin at church

The display was in the window of the Maidstone United Reformed Church from Friday until Monday

One witness said: "I saw a woman putting it together on Friday lunchtime. She seemed like a normal, nice, well-meaning lady.

"But then when I came back from getting a sandwich I saw her stood there painting this white mannequin with varnish.

"I couldn't believe it - it's so inappropriate. I can't believe anybody would think that's a good idea in this day and age.

''It looks like they could find a black baby doll but didn't have a black mannequin so used something to make it darker."

blacked up mannequin at church

The church has apologised for causing offence and removed the display

Charlotte Jacks, 28, of Goudhurst, Kent, has a four-and-a-half-year-old daughter, of mixed race.

She said: "Why would anyone do that? It's so bad it's almost a joke. I hope they take it down immediately."

On Monday the church apologised and removed the offending display.

Reverend Andrew Royal, the minister of Maidstone United Reformed Church, said: "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.

"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."

Christian Aid, the charity behind Christian Aid Week, has declined to comment.

blacked up mannequin