Get ready to see some new graphics, designed to bring identity and visual flair to the UCC's national ministries.
The six ministries have just developed icons that will communicate the mission of the church to the wider world at a glance. The six include four Covenanted Ministries (Office of General Ministries, Local Church Ministries, Justice and Witness Ministries and Wider Church Ministries) along with one Affiliated Ministry (Pension Boards) and one Associated Ministry (United Church Foundation).
The icons will be used as part of an identity campaign and will appear all over: on building signage at the UCC's Church House in Cleveland, the new Desk Calendar and Plan Book, the UCC Yearbook, on the website , on UCC Resources and all published pieces going forth to churches, the broader religious community and the secular press.
But the UCC isn't some kind of Church, Inc. Why do these Ministries of God need new designs?
"We need as many different ways as possible to have the world know who we are and to distinguish us from other churches," says the Rev. Cliff Aerie of the Proclamation, Identity and Communication Ministry Team (PIC), housed within the Office of General Ministries. "If we have something to say and do in this world, we need to let the world know what we're up to. And a picture is worth a thousand words."
Providing an identity
In 2000, the five-member Collegium of Officers commissioned iconography from PIC. The six icons would reflect the ministry and mission of each ministry and provide an identity that would not conflict with the official UCC logo.
An Ohio free-lance designer, Frederick Porter, who has done a variety of work for the UCC's Pilgrim Press, set about creating the designs.
The PIC team, along with representatives from each Cov-enanted, Associated and Affiliated ministry team, was tapped to provide input and stewardship of the project at each level of development.
By January 2001, a light and playful, pen-drawn style for the designs was decided upon. By April, Porter's designs were approved.
The icons first appeared in the 2000 Annual Report for the UCC, released in May of 2001, and were officially introduced to the wider church at General Synod 23 in Kansas City, Mo., last summer.
"I really enjoyed the way the designers gave life to our interpretation of our ministry," says the Rev. Rodney L. Mundy, Executive Associate for Ministries Interpretation and Public Relations for Local Church Ministries.
"Creating graphic representations for the disparate work of the national ministries of the United Church of Christ was a challenging and, at times, frustrating project," says Randy Varcho, PIC design coordinator, "but I'm very pleased with the results."
Each icon explained
Office of General Ministries
The design has at its center a loaf of bread, an affirmation that Jesus is the bread of life. There is a cup of blessing welcoming all into a covenant with Christ and each other. The Bible and the Cross denote a firm foundation in the Word. The vision for ministry is firmly rooted in the cross of Christ.
Justice and Witness Ministries
The traditional symbol of the dove unites fervor to "speak" the gospel and dedication to "live" the gospel. It is the cross of Christ evoked in outstretched wings that provokes Christians to action, holy action to break the chains that shackle the poor, represented by a chain materializing and then bursting into pieces.
Local Church Ministries
A vitally alive congregation is firmly grounded in Jesus Christ. Christ is both cornerstone and capstone of ministry. Ministry begins with celebration and worship. It grows through education and a spirit of hospitality and welcoming. Then it finds its fulfillment in the work of service to others.
Wider Church Ministries
Encompassed within the circle of God's world, two figures portray the diversity of the global community and the UCC's many partnerships. United in common mission, they pour living water from one vessel, joyfully sharing the love of Christ through word and action. The Spirit flows full circle, symbolizing the blessings Christians receive in giving.
Pension Boards (An Affiliated Ministry)
The fullness of God is always present. So, too, the Pension Boards are there to serve and meet the needs of the church family of employees, providing programs that offer them financial peace of mind. Through all stages of life, the Pension Boards offer a supporting hand so that those in the church can focus on the work of ministry.
United Church Foundation (An Associated Ministry)
Each new day dawns with opportunities for ministry and mission, possibilities for local churches and denominational institutions to make a difference in the world. The ministry of United Church Foundation provides strength through investment management to help the church bloom for each new generation.
Top left to right: New logos for Justice and Witness Ministries, Local Church Ministries, Wider Church Ministries. Botttom left to right: Office of General Ministries, Pension Boards, United Church Foundation.