April - May 2008
Grants support ad campaign
Seventeen UCC congregations have launched local radio advertising campaigns this spring, thanks in part to the Stillspeaking Ministry's most-recent round of "Media with a Mission" grants.
Grants totaling $12,242 have been distributed to 13 grantees, representing 17 local churches. Each grant supports a plan by a local church or cluster or churches to purchase local radio advertising time sometime between March 10 (two weeks before Easter) and May 10 (Mother's Day).
The national ministry is providing a $2 match for every $3 that local entities commit to spend on Stillspeaking advertising. "The combined purchases will reach more than 2 million listeners/viewers in regions from Maine to Montana, South Carolina to Oregon," says Gwen Thomas, assistant coordinator for the Stillspeaking Ministry in Cleveland. "We are thrilled to be partnering with our local churches in order to more widely share the story of the UCC's extravagant welcome."
Two new 60-second radio ads — "Telephone Tree" and "Legal Copy" — were produced for the newest ad blitz. The spots have space at the end for local customization.
Nationally, the UCC purchased 165 ad spots on Sirius Satellite Radio during a two-week, pre-Easter advertising blitz.
A second grant cycle deadline was set for March 31, after which more grants were expected to be approved. In all, the Stillspeaking Ministry plans to award $30,000 in Media with a Mission grants this year. This is the third time that the national UCC ministry has offered ad-buying grants to local churches.
So far, grants have been awarded to Cathedral of Hope UCC in Dallas, Texas; Church of the Redeemer UCC in Hershey, Pa.: Colonial Park UCC in Harrisburg, Pa.; Edgewood United Church in East Lansing, Mich.: First and St. Stephen's UCC in Baltimore, Md.: Peace Congregational UCC in Clemson, S.C.; Penbrook UCC in Harrisburg, Pa.; Pleasant Hill Community UCC in Tennessee; St. Paul's UCC in Mechanicsburg, Pa.; St. Paul UCC in Lincoln, Neb.; UCC Congregational in Plainfield, N.J.; United Christian Church in Miles City, Mont.; United Church of Paducah in Kentucky; University Congregational, UCC in Missoula, Mont.; and Williston-West Church UCC in Portland, Maine.
"Our hope is to make it more feasible for local churches to purchase airtime that further lifts up our shared belief in a Stillspeaking God," Thomas says. "The more we work in partnership, the more we strengthen the name recognition and message of the entire UCC, as well as our respective local churches."