The Reverend Michael Paget reflects on the infamous signboards of St Barnabas in Sydney.
At St Barnabas Anglican Church we have always believed that the claims of Jesus Christ are a public issue, and can be discussed with generosity and a spirit of fun. In the 1980s, in particular, the signboards outside the church – designed to attract the attention of passers-by – were one avenue through which that conversation took place. At this time Rev. Robert Forsyth (pictured above right) was responsible for Barneys’ signboards; he soon found he had competition from Arthur Elliot (above left), publican of the nearby Broadway Hotel. The church’s and pub’s signboards would reference and “talk” to each other. Much-loved examples include “This church is for sinners” / “This pub is for drinkers,” “Jesus bowled over death” / “Lillee bowled overarm” and “Jesus died for the whole damned world” / “But would he do it again?”
The new St Barnabas Anglican Church by fjmt on Broadway in Sydney received a High Commendation at the 2013 World Architecture Festival.