Following the December launch of the UCC's five-year, national advertising campaign, the public's interest in the UCC exploded—seemingly—overnight.
Especially helpful? An ensuing media frenzy when the CBS and NBC television networks refused to run the UCC's 30-second, all-inclusive ads for being "too controversial."
In a matter of weeks, more than 137,000 persons sought to "find a church" on the UCC's two primary websites ucc.org and stillspeaking. com, and in just one month, more people inquired online about the UCC's history, beliefs and social justice commitments than in the entire previous year. A handful of sympathetic television stations even aired the spots for free.
UCC identity items—T-shirts, banners, yard signs, and the like—were swept off warehouse shelves by congregations and members eager to display new-found pride in their newly-recognizable denomination. And many donors sought to offer online fi nancial support for the ad campaign, with most contributions coming from those outside the UCC.
As of late January, on the heels of the momentum, church leaders were planning a second string of commercials sometime during Lent, provided UCC members' contributions yielded enough financial support to underwrite a significant national ad buy, estimated at $1.5 million. As of press time, however, no specific details were available.
In this issue of United Church News, read more about the campaign's controversial roll-out with reflections by the Rev. John H. Thomas, UCC general minister and president, on page 2 and the Rev. Robert Chase of the UCC's proclamation, identity and communication ministry on page 4.
And, as always, stay tuned to ucc.org to read the most up-to-date news, commentary and features surrounding the UCC's Stillspeaking Initiative.