At the first General Synod to host a same-sex wedding, it's not surprising that the most popular item sold in the UCC Resources Store has been the "It's Just Love" T-shirt. As of Tuesday morning, the shirt was almost sold out, reflecting one of the overriding themes of the event held June 28-July 2 in Long Beach, Calif.
"The T-shirt is a wonderful sentiment, and is also a great compliment to the Synod Scarf Project," said Darlene Grant, UCC marketing and online associate and member of the UCC Resources team.
Another popular item sold throughout the week was the General Synod official T-shirt. This is the first year UCC Resources produced the official T-shirt, which is a job that had previously been done by the event's host conference. The shirt reflected the General Synod theme of God's Vision. Woven stoles handmade in Guatemala were also big sellers, as were the new drink tumblers that debuted at the event.
Thanks to the work of the UCC's economic justice ministries, a church policy ensures that all products given away, sold, or branded by the UCC are sweat-free and/or environmentally green. For example, all General Synod T-shirts come from a vendor that acquires products produced in fair and equitable working conditions, and the drink tumbler was purchased from a woman-owned company, is BPA free, and encourages the use of reusable mugs.
The General Synod 2013 store also had a new layout this year. The booth space was smaller, but items were strategically arranged in categories to make them easier to locate.
"We had a smaller space, but more targeted merchandise," said Aimee Jannsohn, UCC marketing and communications associate and member of the UCC Resources team. "Also, products were set up strategically. For example, things that a pastor might be interested in, like stoles and leadership books, were grouped together."
The UCC Resources team also coordinated book signings from authors of The Pilgrim Press and the StillSpeaking Writers Group, and had their books available for purchase in the store. The Rev. Lillian Daniel signed her book When Spiritual But Not Religious Is Not Enough on Sunday, and Peter Kageyama, a General Synod keynote speaker and author of For the Love of Cities, signed his book on Monday.
Sales for General Synod 2013 are on par with previous events and the UCC Resources team is pleased with the consistent crowd of customers throughout the week.
"We have even sold the UCC welcome mat off the floor," said Grant. "How's that for extravagant welcome?"