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No shortage of opinion over Office of Communication’s new style guide

No shortage of opinion over Office of Communication’s new style guide

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.



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For me, Jim, it comes down to resources–is this the best use of time and money at this point in Episcopal Church history? Does it truly make a difference in the mission of the church? From where I sit, no.

Jim Naughton

I have been surprised by some of the negative response to this publication, which seemed to me, as someone in the business, to be utterly uncontroversial. I am trying to put myself in the shoes of those with objections, but thus far without success.


Really?!? I want some of my pennies that made it to 815 back. I’d like to know how much this cost to produce…from time spent creating, reviewing, revising, and laying out this standard and document–then how much spent updating websites, buying newly-branded stationery, replacing business cards, etc. I’m all for a style guide when one is needed, but really?! This was a priority?


If this is the future of Emergent Church, I want no part of it, thankyouverymuch. – Jay Vos

Ann Fontaine

Thanks Gretchen – yes — I have a whole web site of hex. I was joking. Should have indicated that. Sorry.

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