An ad was taken out by the Communications Office of The Episcopal Church on Friday's USA Today, "weekend" edition. There have been a number of comments mostly suggesting the ad is verbose and kind of dull. Still, I'm glad to see "The Episcopal Church welcomes you" back in full use and glad to see something being done.
At the same time it is a joy to see that other more quirky and lively ads are also being experimented with. As usual Susan Russell has done a remarkable job getting to the bottom of this quirky creativeness and has contributed an ad of her own. Here it is, to the right.
There is a challenge out to produce new and fresh ads that tell US as we are, and with joy. Here is the Ad-o-rama challenge. Take it or weep. Among the offerings already in place is this one to the left.
Now after those rather spirited efforts the ad from the Church Center seemed rather less useful. The problem I think is that it tries to do too much. The good news is that the Church Center is seeing the need to try to reach the unreached. Anne Rudig, Director of Communications, explained it this way "Our goal is to herald and share our message of "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You", and the copy delves into our identity, our core beliefs, and our heritage."
The operant words here are "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You" and "the copy delves..."
It is the "delving" that is the problematic here.
Here is the copy of the text from the USA Today ad. I have inserted comments in RED reflecting on the dangers of delving.The font is not produced here, but can be retrieved as a PDF file HERE. It is nicely proper.
As Episcopalians, we are followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and believe in
the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
It would have been helpful to use perhaps a few more words here, as in "believe in One God, Father..." Not that that helps in some quarters, the doctrine of the Trinity being what it is, but at least we would be less open to the charge of worshiping three gods.
The Episcopal Church has members in the United States, as well as in Colombia,
the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy,
Switzerland, Haiti, Honduras, Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela,
and the Virgin Islands.
That is true, but we also have members, I suspect in almost every country in the world. It issue is not members. It is congregations and / or dioceses in those countries.
We strive to love our neighbors as ourselves and respect the dignity of every person.
The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and traces
its heritage to the beginnings of Christianity.
Our liturgy retains ancient structure and traditions, and is celebrated in
We welcome men and women, married or celibate, to be ordained as bishops,
priests, and deacons.
This one is oddly phrased. The choice "married or celibate" is not correct. The choice is between in community or solitary, or something like that. Marriage, being part of a religious order, partnered, in a holy union, etc are all variations on community. Being "single" can be an accident or on purpose. I like the word "solitary" to describe a vocation to a life without the vows that accompany joining a community or being partnered. At any rate here it might have been better to leave out "married or celibate," and make it about "men and women" without further limitations.
We believe in amendment of life, the forgiveness of sin, and life everlasting.
Lay people exercise a vital role in the governance and ministry of our Church.
Holy Communion may be received by all baptized Christians, not only members
of the Episcopal Church.
We uphold the Bible and worship with the Book of Common Prayer.
Here "uphold the Bible" seems odd. "We are informed by the witness and words of the Holy Scriptures, the Bible...." might work better.
We affirm that committed relationships are lifelong and monogamous.
This is just plain silly. I have many committed relationships. In most there is no expectation that the commitment is lifelong and the relationship is exclusive. This one needs radical reworking or needs to be dropped altogether.
Episcopalians also recognize that there is grace after divorce and do not deny
the sacraments to those who have been divorced.
We affirm that issues such as birth control are matters of personal
We celebrate our unity in Christ while honoring our differences, always putting
the work of love before uniformity of opinion.
This makes it sound as if we are more willing to put up with people who do injustice from a principled position than we are to take them to task for bad principles. Come to think of it perhaps we are.
All are welcome to find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church.
All in all not a bad list. Needs some work. Informative without being too concentrated on theological or ecclesiastical niceties. Still, as I have said on other occasions, it might be nice to add in closing,
We live in hope that when you know us you will welcome us into your home, for where you live is also the spiritual home of the God whose blessings are on us all.