Church leaders have canceled a fundraiser that would have charged people £750 to be crucified in Manchester city center due to concerns that it would be blasphemous and unsafe.
Organizers of the Manchester Passion 2017 offered "the full crucifixion experience" for £750 to raise money for an Easter performance of Christ's crucifixion in the city's Cathedral Gardens on Saturday, The Guardian reported.
The offer, which was posted on the Manchester Passion 2017 Crowdfunder site, was taken down after members of the organizing committee, some of whom were Church of England clergy, raised their concerns that the idea was potentially dangerous and blasphemous.
Reverend Falak Sher, a canon at Manchester Cathedral and chairman of the organizing committee, said he vetoed the proposal when it was brought up.
"When I saw it I did not like it, I thought it was disgraceful. The whole message of the cross is hope and love. When I saw this I was not very happy and asked the committee to take this one down," Sher stated.
"We didn't like promoting the event in this way for £750. I thought it was not a very positive message when dealing with a message of love and hope," he went on to say.
The offer, which included front-row seats to the play, was part of the organizers' plans to raise an additional £8,000 to bring funds for the Easter celebration up to £60,000, according to The Sun.
Creative director Geoff Millard said that the crucifixions would "feel very real" and that it would be "an experience you are never likely to forget."
"Of course there will be no nails or any pain inflicted whatsoever, but the rest of the experience will feel very real," he remarked.
Alexander Stewart-Clark, who volunteered to serve as the Passion Trust's managing trustee, took full responsibility for the idea and noted that the event had grown since it was first conceived.
He explained that the cost of the play, which now includes a cast of 120, and 80 stewards, has increased from £20,000 to £55,000.
Stewart-Clark, who runs a business importing timber, said he did not think the idea was blasphemous, but he admitted that it was on "the grey line" and tasteless. His timber is used to make the crucifixes which include a pedestal for people to stand on and ropes on the sides of the cross bar to hold on to.
He further noted that other bad fundraising ideas have been scrapped including charging people a fee to sit next to the bishop to watch the play. The committee has already raised about £45,000 for the event and is aiming to raise another £5,000.