The Episcopal Church's Office of Communication recently published "Brand Guidelines for the Episcopal Church," intended to foster greater awareness of its overall branding effort.
The document allows that questions of who owns and controls what are longstanding:
The Episcopal Church has a long history of local control and is more democratic than many other denominations. One of the goals of these guidelines is to enable the development of consistent but flexible communications for use by dioceses, parishes, networks, provinces and other entities of the Church. Guidelines allow us to model unity while allowing for a wide range of expressions.
A unified approach permits us to communicate the commonalities of our faith that transcend differences among us – those things that reflect the Church’s long history and values, and that universally appeal to its clergy, members, and newcomers.
From its release, the guide kicked up discussion on the Houses of Bishops and Deputies email list as well as at the editorial water cooler here at the Café. We noted, in sum, that guidelines can help keep things together; but also that it's going to take more than a style guide to keep things together at this point.
As for me? Well, if the propounder of standards helps - and I do not dispute that it does - then fine.
Lionel Deimel has put together a more considered set of impressions. He notes:
I was particularly struck by the “Brand Strategy Statement” on page 6:For those looking for more meaning and deepened spirituality, The Episcopal Church offers honest and unconditional acceptance, which removes barriers to Jesus Christ and permits belonging to an authentic church community.
Whereas this may not be the definitive statement of what our church is about, it is a well-crafted and appropriate declaration. In a very small font at the bottom of page 6, however, we find this disclaimer:This statement is a reminder of our strengths. It is meant to help guide communication work, rather than be used as an external piece of communication.