A church has been ordered to take down a banner after just one complaint – despite the same message being displayed on other buildings across Scotland.
Banff Parish Church erected the Try Praying banner as part of a national campaign which was rolled out in Easter.
About 500 churches are displaying the green and white sign.
But Aberdeenshire Council has now said it must be removed from Banff Parish Church after receiving a complaint, and that planning officers will now consider it like any other advertisement.
Last night, session clerk Elinor Smith said that members felt like they had been singled out.
“We were quite surprised when the letter arrived,” she said.
“Try Praying is a national initiative and even in our area the banners are at many churches yet we’re the only ones that seem to have this letter.
“It’s very strange.
“It says the council got a complaint which was forwarded to the planning officers for review who came to take pictures and measurements.
“It appears that according to the county planning control of advertising, this breaks the regulations as they cannot be more than 1.2square metres (12 sq ft). Ours is 2.2 square metres (21 sq ft).
“So if we wanted to keep it up we would need planning permission, otherwise we have to remove it by June 16.”
The sign was removed last night.
Within the surrounding area, St Andrews Episcopal Church, Banff River Church, Macduff Parish Church and King Edward Parish Church, also have the banner up but have not been asked to take theirs down.
Rev David Locke, of Banff Parish Church, said: “For some strange reason they seem to have singled out our church and for a national campaign with exact posters across Banffshire, Aberdeenshire and the UK – it’s very odd.”
As the matter has been referred to the Aberdeenshire Council planning team, local councillors were limited in what they could say.
But Councillor Mike Roy questioned the move, and said: “These banners appeared throughout Aberdeenshire after Easter and I don’t think they’re offensive at all.
“They’re totally appropriate.
“To me it’s a reflection of the society we’re now living in that someone would complain about something like that.”
Councillor John Cox added: “There will be no problems as long as all are treated fairly and equally and everything is done above board transparently.
“As a planning matter I can’t say much but there should be consistency relating to all of the signs.”