Coast Comms aids church hit by Passion backlash

The Kent church that block-booked more than £20,000 worth of tickets for Mel Gibson film The Passion of The Christ has taken on start-up PR agency Coast Communications to turn around the media’s negative reaction.

St Luke’s Church in Maidstone received a grilling from John Humphries on BBC Radio 4’s the Today programme, which revealed the church had block-booked the 3,600 tickets without seeing the film.

Coast Comms, set up by church-goers Matt and Alison Baldwin eight months ago, volunteered to handle press enquiries and train spokespeople in a bid to improve public opinion.

‘We emphasised that no other projects were suffering from the investment in tickets because it had a separate source. We also helped the church to use the media spotlight to bring to light its good work,’ Matt Baldwin said.

The Passion of The Christ outraged Jewish groups when it was released in the US and has been panned as ‘sado-masochistic’ by some UK critics, although reviews have generally been mixed.

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