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©2002 The Society of
Archbishop Justus, Ltd


Hallo again to all. We ask those of you who live outside the USA to indulge us today.

Your trash is our bread and butter.

In suburban Washington, DC, 'trash hauling' ('rubbish disposal') was once handled by private businesses. One of the local companies had the memorable slogan 'Your trash is our bread and butter' painted on the side of its every vehicle. We've never been able to forget the slogan, though we have long since forgot the name of the company (which has fallen so far into obscurity that even Google can't find it). A good slogan is memorable, but doesn't always serve the purpose intended by the organisation using it. A bad slogan makes people giggle or squirm, or both.

A few years ago in Britain, the Churches Advertising Network produced a poster and slogan that attracted a lot of attention. Its purpose was not to draw people into a specific church, but to get them to think about the church. We suspect there were more gasps than giggles at this striking concept. Now cross the ocean once again...

The Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA) has, for more than half a century, had a standard sign with a standard slogan that, while not memorable, is remembered. Recently ECUSA has spent money on 'communications', so now it has a new sign with a new slogan. A church can buy either the old or the new or, perhaps oddly, both. Maybe one sign could be used to tell people that they are welcome, and another sign used to tell people that the church is here, rather than over there.

The best part of the new ECUSA slogan is the tidal wave of parody it has engendered. People who previously had nothing to say to each other are now trading mock slogans:

The Episcopal Church: No more Mr Nice Guy
The Episcopal Church: Free Parking
The Episcopal Church: Eschewing simplistic theology since 1785
The Episcopal Church: We're here for you. They aren't.
The Episcopal Church: Come learn about our 20/20 initiative
The Episcopal Church: We're not just for Christmas and Easter any more
The Episcopal Church: Catholic without all those rules

We've been told that the purpose of the new slogan is to appeal more to GenXers. Nowhere, of course, has the mockery of sloganeering been more fervent and sharp than in GenX discussions, whose members use 'communications' as naturally as putting on shoes. We are grateful to the Reverend Paul Cooper of St Christopher in Cranberry-Warrendale, Pennsylvania, for pointing out Mark 8:12. We must confess that at times whilst stopped in traffic behind delivery vans, we've wondered if their slogans aren't better than ours. 'The Episcopal Church: Excellence in linoleum since 1963'. 'The Episcopal Church: Superior Fresh Fish delivered right to your door.'

Our entire budget at Anglicans Online is more or less $600 a year. You will note that you are reading what we write, even though we don't spend money on communications. We suspect that the best way to get attention is to have something to say or to bring value for time expended. Being a little bit outrageous from time to time doesn't seem to hurt, either.

(Our favourite mock slogan? 'The Episcopal Church. As if.')

See you next week.

Cynthia McFarland's signature
Brian Reid's signature
Cynthia McFarland
Brian Reid

Last updated: 4 August 2002