Special Offerings take on new look

2015 marketing campaign hopes to make ‘bold statement’

December 3, 2014

LOUISVILLE

Editor's Note: Please be advised, this campaign has been canceled. The Jan. 12, 2015 article, "Special Offerings to revise promotional campaign," states, "After much criticism, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Special Offerings is revising its 2015 campaign for the One Great Hour of Sharing offering."

When Presbyterians see the marketing materials for the 2015 Special Offerings, organizers are hoping the provocative images will prompt them to continue their donations — or to become involved for the first time.

Only about half of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations participate in the denomination’s four Special Offerings, and the marketing campaign is designed to make people take a second glance and learn more about the offerings, said Sam Locke, director of Special Offerings.

“I hope that it’s a powerful message and causes folks to pay attention to Special Offerings,” Locke said. “It really speaks to the heart of the impact Special Offerings have around the world.”

The images, which use wordplays to deliver a message, are meant to highlight the absurdity of the stereotypes people might have about the people benefitting from the offerings, Locke said.

Designed by xiik, a marketing agency in Indianapolis, the campaign relies on powerful images and informational graphics rather than the long narratives used in the past. Special Offerings staffers hope the designs will bring a fresh perspective to the offerings.

“We hope folks see this as a bold statement of what we’re doing together,” Locke said. “The hope is also that folks will really see how the church is engaged in mission in a special way … Presbyterians are really involved in mission for a long-term impact.”

The PC(USA)’s four Special Offerings are Pentecost, Peace & Global Witness, Christmas Joy and One Great Hour of Sharing and address concerns like hunger, natural disasters and injustice. The first offering collected in 2015 will be the One Great Hour of Sharing, which is currently using donations to respond to the Ebola epidemic and human trafficking.

  1. I cannot defend or dismiss the OGHS posters, but there is a fair question within the representation: "Isn’t it true that many of the people who receive funding from the PCUSA Offerings are not Caucasian?" How we do we talk about the struggle of “minorities” if we do not offer images of the very people we wish to help? The story of the South American children heading north (read Enrique's Journey) is the story of an Hispanic boy. Talking about his crisis, and the crisis of all those children, without mentioning their ethnicity, would be like trying to describe the plight of American slaves without mentioning they were "Black," taken from Africa, Haiti, Jamaica,,etc. At some point we need to talk about race because - even in our (rightful and gracious) desire to be politically correct environment - where people come from and what they look like matters a great deal. I am not sure of the answer, but it is a fair question: "Do we show the people we want to help?"

    by Stephen Melton

    March 13, 2015

  2. I cannot remember a time that I agree with anything this denomination says or does. Yet, I love this campaign. I agree that the period is unfortunate, but otherwise it is very captivating and thought provoking. It not only appeals to our intellect but to our emotions.

    by Stephen P. "Gutty" Gutridge

    February 18, 2015

  3. As a Christian and a graphic designer, I am astonished at the outrage here. Had these ads been done by Coca-Cola or Apple or The Gap, the public response would have likely been positive. Those are "edgier" companies, with "edgier" audiences who would see this as thought-provoking rather than racist. The Presbyterian Church is clearly the wrong audience. As someone pointed out in another comment, the main flaw with the messaging is the period after the headline sentence. It should be an ellipsis (...) to clarify the continuation of the thought. There could be other adjustments to the layout that would emphasize the secondary headline (which is the real message of each ad). Other than this, I think this is campaign is actually done pretty well. I understand I'm in the minority in the comments here.

    by And I'm the Dad

    January 16, 2015

  4. And is anyone going to point out the grammatical problem. The period is the problem. No period not insensitive. It creates a complete thought, which they were trying to debunk with the secondary clause. Foolishness like this cannot exist in our intellectually astute denomination!

    by Susan Stewart

    January 16, 2015

  5. I proudly serve as a Teaching Elder in the most racially and ethnically diverse presbytery within the PCUSA, where we break down stereotypes each day. If these ads won't be perceived as "edgy" and "cool" in our local context, then where can they be used? Nowhere, except inside the shredder.

    by Millason Dailey

    January 14, 2015

  6. Depicting people of color as alcoholics and drug addicts is, at the very least, racist and offensive. Furthermore, it infers that those who are in need are in need because of their own bad behaviors. As a church member, if I were handed this on Sunday morning and didn't know the work of the special offerings , I would trash it without giving. Please, Please, change your ads!

    by Judith Lee

    January 13, 2015

  7. really disappointed about this campaign. It really breaks my heart how always the ethnic groups have to suffer. What a mistake!

    by Jeniffer Rodriguez

    January 13, 2015

  8. Clearly a campaign designed and approved by one's who are ignorant and blind to their white privilege. They reveal the racism and elitism within PCUSA.

    by jewell

    January 13, 2015

  9. Dear Presbyterian Brothers and Sisters, I am offended by the following: Worldwide, 780 million people do not have access to an improved water source, An estimated 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation (more than 35% of the world’s population). stated by WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation; 2012. Speaking personally, the models in the poster seem secure and direct in their message. I tested out the posters on several college age students and their only comment was "the font size on the water message is a bit too small." Please, go take a clean drink of water out of the closest water fountain and rethink what offends you.

    by Kelly Eplee

    January 12, 2015

  10. I can see the Christmas Joy campaign: It involves a seminary student robed with her colorful stoles and bitter-eyes. All it says... "Needs help with her reading. The Bible." My price is just $2,000/stereotype. Good job the Presbyterian "Church" of the United Way

    by Tim Holster

    January 12, 2015

  11. There is a better way to promote this offering: speaking and showing real, human suffering as it exists in the world is enough of an ad campaign for a compassionate denomination.

    by jon martin

    January 12, 2015

  12. first, the current leadership railroads changes through the GA, promotes their own brand of political correctness, has a scandal in the Mission agency and now callously allows these adds. How sad.

    by c. emrich

    January 12, 2015

  13. I am disappointed to see that representatives of our denomination aimed for edginess at the expense of reinforcing racial stereotypes and trivializing addiction, gang involvement, and lack of access to higher education and health care. Shame on us for plastering the word “needs” like a scarlet letter atop each poster. We all are equally in need of the grace of God. Jesus calls followers to ‘take up our cross and lose our life’ for his sake, and no marketing firm will ever find a more compelling or “provocative” message to inspire self-offering. I join others in respectfully requesting that this campaign be removed.

    by Keatan King

    January 12, 2015

  14. Somehow an attempt to turn negative stereotypes on their side just ended up highlighting the negative stereotypes. These ads are insulting and offensive, both to the people they claim to want to help and to people who may actually be struggling with some of these issues. We as a Church can and have a responsibility to do better than this.

    by Ashley Birt

    January 12, 2015

  15. I too feel compelled to voice my concern and disapproval of the One Great Hour of Sharing ads. OGHS has been such an important offering of our Church for decades. I fear this approach to the campaign will now damage OGHS rather that improve its image. Please remove these ads and hopefully this marketing firm will not be used for future special offering campaigns.

    by Nancy E Muth

    January 12, 2015

  16. I cannot believe that my church decided to stoop to such lows to attract attention. Not only is the concept racist and divisive, it is trite in the utmost for its "attempt" to seem edgy and relevant. It comes off only as foolish and naive. Then, to top it off, the campaign exploits the daily struggles many have with staying sober and growing spiritually in the face of a culture that sells addiction right and left. No one needs to have their recovery sold out for publicity purposes.

    by Rev. J. Steven Musick

    January 12, 2015

  17. I would like to add my name to the long list of people who are asking you to remove these ads from your campaign. Special offerings does important ministry. And, yet, these ads are extremely offensive and harmful. Please listen to those voices who are calling this wrong and offensive, pull these ads, and make a public statement of apology. Recognizing, acknowledging, and correcting such mistakes that harm others in the name of Jesus Christ is critical in the work of the Church. Please take action now.

    by Rev. Emily Heitzman

    January 12, 2015

  18. I want to add my dismay and disappointment at the ad campaign created for the 2015 One Great of Hour. I am writing simply in my capacity as a minister member of the PCUSA and strong supporter of our Special Offerings. I cannot believe that no one along the way of design and development raised any kind of alert as to the offensive nature of the copy and overtly racist imagery. As a Latina, I find the campaign perpetuates hurtful stereotypes and makes light of devastating human conditions such as addiction, abuse and misogyny. ​Please recall these materials. They are offensive and will not serve the purpose for which they were created. I know that I will strongly advocate against using them in my presbytery.

    by Eliana Maxim

    January 12, 2015

  19. These are edgy ads, but they will not work in all contexts in which the offering is received - and certainly not in mine. I value the work of the offering, and I fear that the wording of the ads take the focus off the recipients and onto the ads themselves. Looks like we'll be producing our own offering materials this year.

    by Amy Delaney

    January 12, 2015

  20. I have become know to some of my closest friends and collegues as 'the irreverant reverend'. I am not easily offended and like a good play on words, AND this campaign is not funny, it crosses the line. It is racist in that it depicts prople of color as those needing 'special' assistance due to their color and stereotpical problems. It does not take seriously the real issues that yhe ministies these special. offetings seek to fund. I expect more from my church...and this isn't it. Going to be impossible to use these promo matetials with my congtegation.

    by Carla Gentry

    January 12, 2015

  21. Quo vadis PCUSA? Does this campaign really show our Vision of inclusiveness? Let’s show all the hands-on projects we work on and the positive results of our actions. People on the pew are so proud when our denomination presents Presbyterian missionaries, church members and all kinds of volunteers working on behalf of those in needs. That means PCUSA in action!

    by Marta Rodriguez

    January 12, 2015

  22. Disappointed that these materials were conceptualized in the first place, and even more disappointed that they were taken to press even after focus groups strongly advised otherwise. That doesn't demonstrate cutting-edge leadership, it demonstrates arrogance. As part of the body of Christ, we are accountable to each other (not my idea, but Paul's. Look it up). Hoping you listen to the collective voice being raised around you and do the right thing.

    by Steve Lindsley

    January 12, 2015

  23. It is dismaying and upsetting to see this campaign that is both insensitive to those who struggle daily with substance/alcohol addiction and recovery, as well as racist in the stereotypes it plays on in an effort to be clever. While we will still contribute to the OGHS offering, we will certainly have to find a different way to promote it in our congregation.

    by Matthias Peterson-Brandt

    January 12, 2015

  24. I am deeply saddened by this campaign which blithely mocks addictions, gangs, and people struggling. "We" as a mostly white denomination are not in a position to do this, and this campaign in fact adds to stereotypes. If it is trying to reach young adults--look at the comments! My own children in their 30s are appalled by this campaign and it gives them one more reason to claim/acknowledge "we" are out of touch. I would not use these materials in the church I serve where we have nightly AA meetings. My deeper concern is that churches like mine which are strapped for money will have one more excuse not to give to the denomination, and in all honestly, with type of judgment, I'm tending to agree. Where is the mention of God, of following Christ who cared for the least of them. Coming at special offerings in a "covert" way of not mentioning faith at all, just isn't the way to instill our core values!

    by Gail Monsma

    January 12, 2015

  25. The comments advocating against the use of the business style marketing approach are very well stated. My only addition is to say when an approach generates such strong emotions, it is wise to listen regardless of the creative dialogue that may have generated the original thinking. Sometimes good intentions do not hit the mark. I am hopeful that actions taken from this point will demonstrate active listening.

    by Mary Haynes

    January 12, 2015

  26. While displaying their righteous indignation to this campaign I only pray that those who are so critical remember the purpose of this ministry and contribute as much in funds as they do in disparaging remarks.

    by Dan

    January 12, 2015

  27. I will add my disappointment to the list. I will recommend to my church to not use the posters or inserts. If you don't have time to reprint then please email the churches a revised campaign that we can print and use.

    by Cheryl Hartman

    January 12, 2015

  28. I wanted to join my voice with many of those above. I agree that this ad campaign is offensive and I will not be using it in my church. Each year we have an intentional focus on the OGHS campaign during Lent and have our children mark our progress towards our church goal on the wall. I cannot in good conscious use these bulletin inserts and images as we try and make our kids aware of the importance of giving and partnering with those who may be in need.

    by Rev Richard Milton

    January 12, 2015

  29. This ad campaign shows me how broken the institutional church is. This issues goes deeper than just "fixing" the campaign, and all those involved in the decision making of this campaign needs to seriously look at their decisions and actions. It is not okay to portray people of color with slogans that allude to addiction trying to catch someone's attention. It perpetuates stereotypes of both people of color and those suffering from the diseases of addictions. As a recovering alcoholic, I am offended by this campaign. It shows me how insensitive others are to the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction. It also shows those struggling with substance abuse just how ignorant our denomination is regarding addiction and recovery. This campaign is not edgy; it is offensive on so many levels. Please pull the campaign material immediately.

    by Janice Stamper

    January 12, 2015

  30. This campaign is in bad taste. It uses issues of addiction to draw our attention, and issues of addiction are not the main focus of the recipient organizations. And using people of color to do it smacks of our white privilege view of the world. To the decision makers for this campaign: if the pictures were of white skinned blond haired blue eyed children, would this campaign been green lighted?

    by Sue Smith

    January 12, 2015

  31. I'm a member of a PCUSA church and also a veteran in the marketing business. Please tell me this campaign hasn't been released. I understand your desire to appeal to a new generation of givers, but this "clever" twist doesn't do that. It fails to connect and worse, it will probably offend.

    by Mimi Gentry

    January 12, 2015

  32. As a Commissioned Ruling Elder in the PCUSA I am saddened and embarrassed by this ad campaign. Please do not use these materials to raise funds for our wonderful outreach programs. These materials present an image opposite to our goals.

    by Donna Pollard-Burton

    January 12, 2015

  33. Please do not use this add for raising funds. I think it will backfire and a pastor or committee or church could really make people upset by using these. It is not a pastoral campaign. Please find other ways.

    by Rev. Sarah Iliff McGill

    January 11, 2015

  34. I'm very disappointed in these. The decisions you've been making recently have been questionable to say the least.

    by Michelle Clark

    January 11, 2015

  35. Special Offerings take on new look 2015 marketing campaign hopes to make ‘bold statement’ Your "BOLD STATEMENT" with the posters for this year's campaign shows how the PCUSA missed the boat for a very important ministry that happens through OGHS. The posters in your promotion are painfully wrong and do not address your last statement re: the use of the 2015 offering.

    by Rev. Rita Wilson

    January 11, 2015

  36. This makes me so sad. What has happened to our Gospel imagination, our honest compassion, our ability to be straight forward in asking for support for OGHS? Please withdraw these offensive posters - for Jesus's Sake.

    by Susan Andrews

    January 11, 2015

  37. I hope to not see these at my church; talk about marketing being really off the mark.

    by Anne Schneider

    January 11, 2015

  38. So many people have said it so well… I'm adding one more voice to say how shocked, saddened, and angry I am by this marketing campaign.

    by Noell Rathbun-Cook

    January 11, 2015

  39. The ministries that benefit from OGHS do phenomenal work and it is harmful that these advertisements so utterly miss the mark on executing a stewardship campaign that seeks to build relationships and learn from our partners. Instead, we see ads that tap into the internalized racism of the viewers to gain money. Come on, we can do better than this.

    by Abbi Heimach

    January 11, 2015

  40. I have been recommending that the patients that I work with at the hospital, who are struggling with addiction, and who come from a Christian background - that they look to the church as a place of support and healing. I would be greatly embarrassed if they entered a Presbyterian church and found these posters. Further thoughts: http://marktime.org/?p=1455

    by Mark Smith

    January 11, 2015

  41. Please trash these offensive, clueless, embarrassing attempts at "edgy". They are light years from being remotely representative of PCUSA values and will only confuse everyone and alienate members. I appreciate creativity and perhaps good intentions but this is tasteless and completely inappropriate at best.

    by Laurie

    January 11, 2015

  42. I am so sorry that we Presbyterians are being so awful to our PMA staff about these materials. I think it was a great idea to see what a professional ad agency could do. Thank you, PMA, for your service to those of us out here in the congregations. Obviously, most congregations don't have the expertise to encourage giving. And equally obviously, many of our Christian brothers and sisters posting here and elsewhere are forgetting our calling to love one another. Sadly, I have to agree that these materials miss the mark. What can the presbyteries and congregations do to better support PMA's efforts on the special offerings in the future?

    by Glyndon Morris

    January 11, 2015

  43. As a recovered addict and seminary student at Columbia Theological Seminary, I feel responsible to state that it's unfortunate that the PCUSA used addiction as a gimmick. It's a real illness that kills people all over the world. Instead of giving it the respect and attention it deserves in the church they're using it as a trend to grab attention and focus for other causes that they seem to think are of actual importance. This campaign is incredibly tacky and offensive.

    by Kristin Wolf

    January 11, 2015

  44. Somos duros con los victimas de adicciones. Pero no somos nada duros con las corporaciones que producen los elementos que le destruyen la vida a un mar de seres humanos y familias en el mundo. Percibir que los víctimas son los que tienen cara de las llamadas minorías es otro problema que socaba la vida de la iglesia. De las adicciones somos victimas todas las razas, así que hay que intentar este esfuerzo de colectar fondos cuidando el no caer en estigmatizar sectores de este amado y diverso mundo creación de Dios. Cuidemos de escucharnos tratando de no hacer daño al corazón de la tarea de la iglesia de llevar vida en el entorno donde se mueve. Recomiendo a quienes dieron el si a esta publicidad a que la retomen y la relancen con un contenido que no ofenda a nadie. Esto ha de entenderse como una disculpa publica a quienes nos sentimos ofendidos por tal hecho. De no hacerse lo que tendremos es esta escaladas de comentarios que nos llevara a cualquier lugar menos a algo que genere vida a la institución y mucho menos a las personas por las que se esta haciendo este esfuerzo. Paz

    by Elmer Zavala

    January 11, 2015

  45. While I resonate completely with the problems outlined by many of those commenting and feel the ads are ill advised, I am troubled by those who advocate for cancelling the campaigns this year because of the displeasure with the materials. The recipients off all the offerings, and the first of the year, OGHS are too important for our congregations not to provide support. While we wait to find out if new materials will be available, please consider either using last year's or making your own. It isn't that hard to write your own Minutes for Mission, come up with a bulletin board display, invite speakers and more. OGHS is our most visible of the offerings and benefits scores of people. So while we file our protests that are well placed, please put some energy into promoting the campaigns. And for those with media creativity, I hope you will volunteer to provide some ideas into what will work, be appropriate and right this situation.

    by Leah Hester Johnson

    January 11, 2015

  46. I find it offensive that our denomination would think that the only way to get a message across is to have an outlandish cover, hoping that somehow people will want to go beyond the cover. Why would they????

    by Dana Schmidt

    January 11, 2015

  47. If you're going to hire a firm, be sure you get one that knows how to use a focus group. We support this offering but won't be using these materials.

    by Matt Gough

    January 11, 2015

  48. these ads are distasteful and completely missing the point of sharing offering. Please reconsider the use of these as I would like to think PCUSA has more class.

    by Cassie schurz

    January 11, 2015

  49. Welcome to Presbyterian Corporation (USA). When I attended church it was not for the purpose of being emotionally manipulated or shaken down, it was to be healed from those very things. The church is diminishing itself on many levels. Breaks my heart.

    by Laura Krome

    January 11, 2015

  50. What message are you trying to convey with the pictures related to the Special Offerings.? I can't believe that this kind of promotion passed the test of being in good taste. Please pull this material. It misses the mark and puts a bad taste in my mouth.

    by Bettie Durrah

    January 11, 2015

  51. I'm surprised that NOBODY in Louisville thought that this was offensive. Drugs and Drinking is and addiction and using minority and children is racist. my hope and prayer is that this gets sent back to the agency and gets buried.

    by Wanda

    January 11, 2015

  52. Creativity is always welcome, but when it takes the form of what can be construed as racist imagery, it is not appropriate for use by a church that professes to be a place of love, justice, and compassion. Rescind the use of this year's OGHS materials.

    by Rev. Mitch Trigger

    January 11, 2015

  53. Please do not use this advertising campaign. It is troubling -- racist, sexist, insensitive to people who struggle with addiction. If I were to walk into a church that was displaying these posters or using these inserts, I would think it was a church that I did not want to be a part of. I serve a church that gives faithfully to these special offerings. If used, these materials would almost certainly cause the offerings to decrease, or even to disappear. I love the Presbyterian Church and think we have many faithful, creative people working in our national offices. This, however, feels like a group that has responded to a time of change by losing its way.

    by Kim Rodrigue

    January 11, 2015

  54. I had planned on really pushing my churches to take up the offerings this year. I commend the desire to make them a little more contemporary and to draw attention to the problems. But these go beyond what is remotely good taste. They are not, in my opinion, overtly racist. But they do feed into stereotypes of race and ethnicity which the church must, with every breath, condemn and combat. I see where they are trying to go, but at first glance (which is all most people will give them) these appear very misguided.

    by Dr. Rob Lowry

    January 11, 2015

  55. I am an ordained minister in the UCC, and we join with PC(USA) in supporting OGHS. I am deeply disturbed by this campaign. It is not just that it misses the mark- it is injurious. Perpetuating stereotypes of those for whom these ministries are meant to benefit not only harms the campaign, it directly injures those who give as well as those who receive. Everyone makes mistakes. A risk was taken with the best intent, I'm sure. My prayer is that PC(USA) rethinks this campaign, sees it for what it is, and drops it. Let us move forward together in loving God's children in need.

    by Rev. Jill Lowry

    January 11, 2015

  56. I am highly disturbed by these ads. Please cancel their distribution...regardless of the amount of time and money invested. #notmyOGHS

    by Casey FitzGerald

    January 11, 2015

  57. I'll just add my full support of the work of these special offerings - and my absolute horror of this ad campaign.

    by Rev. Michelle Owens

    January 11, 2015

  58. As so many have already said so well, this campaign misses the mark. I support the special offerings, and I support bold efforts to promote them. I fear, however, that this particular bold effort will do far more harm than good. Please heed the many comments made here, as well as on facebook and twitter.

    by Susan McGhee

    January 11, 2015

  59. I think the problem may be that our church gets offended too quickly... I fail to believe that the Special Offerings crew was having a raciest moment when they decided to print these and maybe if we could learn as a whole to not have our focus immediately turn to the race of the folks on the cover, but on how help serve the need of the people each represent, then we would get a lot done in the time that we waste being angry.

    by ryan althaus

    January 11, 2015

  60. My congregation will do our best to continue to support the special offerings by creating our own materials or using older ones but we will not utilize or distribute these offensive and disrespectful materials. I would echo the concerns already raised above that they perpetuate harmful and offensive stereotypes, racism and belittle issues of addiction. I urge you not to waste the postage on distributing them.

    by Rev. Shawna Bowman

    January 11, 2015

  61. I just saw the GAVE / GOT part of the campaign and it is more offensive than what is shown above. I never ceased to be amazed by the way we put our foot in it... If I were responsible for promoting the offerings in my context -we would not use these materials. I wish the money spent on this could be rolled into the offerings...

    by MB McCandless

    January 11, 2015

  62. This ad campaign highlights how far those who develop and approve this fundraising work are from the actual ministry. We cannot hope to raise money at the expense of reinforcing stereotypes of people of color and making fun of people struggling with substance abuse. People of Color in the PCUSA raised concerns about this campaign months ago and were ignored. This is a leadership problem that cannot be repeated. Cancel this campaign.

    by Ben Snipes

    January 11, 2015

  63. Wow. From the focus on people of color as 'needy' and the implicit judgments of people with addictions (it's okay, church, they aren't REALLY addicts, so they ARE deserving of our help after all...), this tone-deaf and offensive campaign betrays the spirit of this special offering. One Great Hour of Sharing is about what we can SHARE - acknowledging the mutual blessings that occur when we seek equity and wholeness - NOT about what we can give as 'charity' to needy, powerless people (of color) 'somewhere else' in the world. Let's not mistake the 'look' of edginess for something ACTUALLY challenging, fresh, and gospel-driven. It would be nice to hear someone in the leadership of this project say, 'Sorry, we really messed up. We're going to listen better and try again to respect the spirit of this offering, and the spirit of this vibrant, diverse 21st century denomination."

    by Anna Kendig

    January 11, 2015

  64. I have been an elder in our church since 1970 & in all of those 45 years I have never felt so ashamed of what my financial & moral support of my church has come to represent. This campaign doesn't just miss the mark; it is inappropriate & distructive. The "Special Offerings" literature I've seen so far is offensive to me and will be offensive to a wide variety of people - people in recovery, people of color, people with children, people who are poor, etc. The PCUSA needs to be in the world to help break down stereotypes, not reinforce them. We need to use our limited resources to uplift people, not to launch slick, manipulative campaigns that keep them down.

    by John Kraning

    January 11, 2015

  65. As an Hispanic Presbyterian and Christian Educator I am sooo disappointed . I will be asking the church I serve not use these resource.

    by Josey

    January 11, 2015

  66. This campaign is completely inappropriate.

    by Whitney Dempsey

    January 11, 2015

  67. This campaign is not the fruit of theological discernment. It is allowing the language and attitudes of corporate marketing to co-opt Gospel value. I am done with Special offerings. My church's limited resources will be given elsewhere.

    by Jim Moss

    January 11, 2015

  68. This ad campaign is troubling, offensive and appalling. This is the type of thing which drives people away from church, and not something I personally would want to be associated with. Raising funds for those in need is a crucial mission, but let's be a little more Christ-like in our pursuits.

    by Kim Garrity

    January 11, 2015

  69. So many others have spoken eloquently on why these are horrible ads. I agree. What concerns me even more is how this decision got made. I believe you need to do more than just fix this campaign.

    by Richard Hong

    January 11, 2015

  70. I can't believe that these made it through the numbers of committees that we always take to review major projects. I believe folks were well intentioned and trying to be imaginative, but these are at best misleading, at worst they perpetuate negative stereotypes. They should not be used.

    by Rev. Steve Plank

    January 10, 2015

  71. I join in calling for a recall of these materials. Yes, they are offensive. On a practical note, they are also a waste of resources. What is the message being sent? Does being "edgy" mean "lacking focus and message?" Given the financial state of affairs in our larger church, the idea that we paid an ad consultant a lot of money to produce this tripe suggests to me that the denomination isn't being a responsible steward of OUR resources.

    by Rev. Samuel Weddington

    January 10, 2015

  72. I add my voice of objection to this ad campaign. As the pastor of a PCUSA congregation in the top 1% of diversity I cannot in good conscious distribute these materials for the very reasons mentioned above. If advisory board members expressed objection and were ignored, as one writer suggests, then the good news is we already have the wisdom needed for future campaigns; let those who realized that this campaign was a bad idea make decisions for future publications. I would add that xiik should no longer be used by the PCUSA as they are clearly unaware of who we strive to be and whom we strive to serve.

    by Rev. George Tatro

    January 10, 2015

  73. I cannot imagine hanging these posters in a church or putting these fliers in bulletins. These are objectionable and an embarrassment.

    by Joy Fisher

    January 10, 2015

  74. Sorry, I'm shocked and appalled by this campaign. *Please* consider and end it now.

    by Simon Barrow

    January 10, 2015

  75. The images in this campaign are racist and they further perpetuate the pathologization of black and brown bodies. In addition, people have raised very important concerns about how it references substance abuse. For a denomination that is 92% white, with a history of structural racism, and very recent concerns about how it addresses (or doesn't address) these issues, the PCUSA is nowhere close to having any credibility for pursuing this type of "edgy" campaign. Further, it is deeply troubling that the Special Offerings Committee and Mr. Locke received feedback (particularly from poc) that this material was offensive and inappropriate. Instead of embracing our polity (which is theological grounded) by listening to the voices of advocacy committees and others who warned as far back as October that this campaign missed the mark, some figured that they “know better” – better than racial ethnic ministries, better than other voices that have repeatedly cried foul. This is hubris and a text book case study in exactly the type of the racism that many of us raising concerns are talking about. To get anywhere near the ability to consider this type of campaign REQUIRES a confession of the sin of racism and white privilege AND repentance (turning around). And sadly, that seems to be too much for some of us to ask.

    by Rev. Kerri Allen

    January 10, 2015

  76. I am not sure who ok'ed this campaign, and decided to talk about it as an edgy, forward-thinking move. It is so edgy and forward-thinking that it actually ends up being very backward on so many levels: substance abuse/mental health and racial stereotypes (perhaps including the stereotype that people of the majority culture do not need help) among them. I am disappointed to hear that there were many "editors" who asked that the campaign be rethought, and that somehow, the decision was made to continue anyway. Given the national dialogue in recent months, I don't think we can say we are relevant and critically addressing issues of race and stereotypes with ads like these.

    by Jihyun Oh

    January 10, 2015

  77. These are unacceptable. It grieves me that the special offerings team didn't listen when voices advised them this was unacceptable and it grieves me that our denomination hasn't done better. This is the work of white, male, unaddicted privilege. Please don't use these.

    by abby mohaupt

    January 10, 2015

  78. I am stunned. Are these people models pretending to be our mission partners or are they our actual mission partners?

    by Fritz Gutwein

    January 10, 2015

  79. This is sad that someone got paid with "our " money to come up with a campaign add like this.It looks like an add for drugs.

    by Kathleen Green

    January 10, 2015

  80. I find these campaign materials very troubling. 1) The "absurdity" of stereotypes is not what is highlighted by these images. 2) Addiction is not a disease to be made light of. So many of our congregations open their doors to support groups for folks who are dealing with substance abuse, to say nothing of the countless number of families in our pews who have been adversely affected by addiction. Why should we use campaign materials that exploit their struggle?

    by S. Hare

    January 10, 2015

  81. Given that many of our churches serve as meeting places for groups such as AA, and others suffering from addictions, it would seem that more thought would have gone into this campaign and it's subsequent approval. It is offensive and insensitive. As others have said, we can do much better. Time to regroup and come up with a better campaign.

    by Charles Johnson

    January 10, 2015

  82. Please listen to these comments and respond with greater sensitivity.

    by Jennifer Burns Lewis

    January 10, 2015

  83. If the materials have shipped, I'll be returning them. I encourage everyone to do the same. Let the leaders see our very visible grief, anger, and pain over this campaign.

    by Rev. Debra Avery

    January 10, 2015

  84. Please disown these offensive promotions for an important ministry.

    by Floyd Churn

    January 10, 2015

  85. Another example of our denomination not taking addiction seriously.! Addiction is a big pink elephant in the room of many denominational sponsored events. An inability to have empathy for or even see how others in recovery or needing recovery would view this is unwise and insensitive. Then there is the racial issue.....Yikes!!

    by s. edwards

    January 10, 2015

  86. I thought the materials we used this year were great. I am troubled with the image that a child might have an addiction problem. We care about both the people who are addicted and those who need clean water. They are two different problems - not to be confused.

    by The Rev. Dr. Martha Murchison

    January 10, 2015

  87. This is hideous. This is racism. Were these nightmares dreamed up by the same folks who designed the meth billboards in Montana? I'm not even going to comment on where their heads must have been when they thought up these atrocities. Burn them. Shame you on you for such an abuse of stewardship.

    by Phil Micheal

    January 10, 2015

  88. I am shocked, saddened, disappointed and ashamed that our denomination, that works so hard to build relationships and fights for justice, would think these materials were a good idea! Come on PCUSA! You can do so much better!

    by Melissa Johnson

    January 10, 2015

  89. This is one of the most offensive and racist images I have ever seen. I am ashamed and pray that they are not circulated to anyone in any church, anywhere. Please, stop publication immediately and recreate your vision as well as search your hearts for a better way to help us all.

    by Tracy Germer

    January 10, 2015

  90. Adding my name to the many, many, others that are grieved by these materials and request they be pulled and not released. The PCUSA should listen to the voices of those who are pleading that they be discontinued. We must do better as a denomination.

    by Rev. Traci M. Smith

    January 10, 2015

  91. Dear Samuel, I am the Rev. Mauricio Chacon former moderator of the National Hispanic Caucus and pastor of the PCUSA. I want to let you know how disturbed I am for the new promotion filled with stereotypes putting people of color on the spot. After so much of dealing with issues of race it's unbelievable that your office still using us as tokens for your advertising. Please remove this type of promotions that does not help on the efforts to eradicate racism in our church. I believe I am not the only one who is upset with this type of promotion, I love my church and I agree with the special offerings, but not using people of color giving this type of negative message. Thank you for your attention to my email. In Christ Rev. Mauricio Chacon

    by Mauricio Chacon

    January 10, 2015

  92. Please have all staff read WITNESSING WHITENESS! I'm appalled that wee are sooooo lax in our understanding of stereotyping for profit. Thought we were better at prophetic communication.

    by Bill Coop

    January 10, 2015

  93. These really are distasteful. They are clever at the expense of empathy. I have always been proud of the work we do through these offerings, and it would be a shame for that work to be diminished by a poorly executed campaign

    by Laura

    January 10, 2015

  94. This sort of attention-grabbing may work well on a bill-board for a vodka company, but it won't be working in our church. I cannot in good conscience ask our session and congregation to get behind promotional materials in which the forest is lost for the trees… it is difficult to tell what exactly we are looking to support with this campaign, and I worry our giving will suffer because our folks will rightly see this as a base attention grab. Sure, we need to get our message out there, but we also need to remember who we are: we are the church, and our marketing ought to honor one another, not play into stereotypes (anger issues and black boys? Girls in remedial math? white people helping brown folk?).

    by Sarah Weisiger

    January 10, 2015

  95. Sometimes the ideas we come up with seemed golden in our thoughts and dreams but when they hit the paper we see how wrong they were. What I'm surprised with is that NOBODY in Louisville thought that this was offensive and wrong. A lot of good has been done through the national office, and my hope and prayer is that these never see the light of day. We all make mistakes but this was a complete failure on everyone's part.

    by Rev Shawn Hyska

    January 10, 2015

  96. These images and messages are patently offensive. They will not be used by our congregation. Addiction is not funny.

    by Christopher Keating

    January 10, 2015

  97. An obvious mistake deserving an apology to those it has offended and a review of how these materials made it out into our churches is needed. Perhaps future Special Offering marketing materials could be reviewed by a group of the commenters here who have a good handle on how to be cutting edge without being offensive?

    by Jody Noble

    January 10, 2015

  98. Just joining my voice to all those who find this appalling beyond measure.

    by Rev. Dr. Jan Trammell-Savin

    January 10, 2015

  99. I cannot fathom how materials as insensitive as these ever made it past responsible people at GA. Didn't anyone catch the implications and stereotyping so evident in the pictures and the wording? My fear is that it's too late to cancel and that the damage has already been done.

    by Virginia B. Smith

    January 10, 2015

  100. I too am saddened by the ignorance that appears to have gone into this campaign. As others have pointed out not only is this tone deaf to the racism still prevalent in our denomination but it is also heinously judge mental to those suffering with addiction. Addiction is a deadly disease which claims the lives of people of all races, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities and and cultural backgrounds. It is not a joke and should never be used as such. Though the disease is indiscriminate, those who suffer from it and also live with the reality of racism, poverty and lack of equal access to appropriate support and treatment are that much more likely to die from the disease. These posters do so much harm in brining important issues to light that surround the disease of addiction and the toll it takes. I sincerely hope that the obvious ignorance that went into these campaigns is addressed.

    by Megan Remtema

    January 10, 2015

  101. This ad campaign is disturbing and utterly offensive. Please discontinue the use of this campaign immediately. It is an embarrassment to the PCUSA.

    by Stacy Smith

    January 10, 2015

  102. Not what we expect from the PCUSA.

    by Taylor Hill

    January 10, 2015

  103. I suggest that if you are going to use a commercial firm to create communications campaigns that you make sure that they understand what the PC(USA) is and what we stand for. These promotional materials are so offensive that I am sure that people who want to denigrate our denomination will now have plenty of ammunition. I will recommend to our Mission Commission and Council that we not use this material to announce or explain Special Offerings in 2015. I don't care how much money was spent developing this campaign...it needs to be junked.

    by Leslie Mardenborough

    January 10, 2015

  104. One great hour of failing. We are so much better than this.

    by kristin hutson

    January 10, 2015

  105. Poor taste and bad judgment. If the folks who approved these thought they would be "clever" and boost the offerings, I am appalled. Double entendres about alcoholism and drug addiction are in such bad taste......... I'm truly disappointed in my denominations's attempt to be cool.

    by Christine Vogel

    January 10, 2015

  106. Pun messages, if used well, can be very effective. Yes. But why use the puns for "drinking problem" and "high" to these pictures? The puns have become offensive. Instead of using pictures of the little girl, couldn't you have used pictures of a dirty body of water with people surrounding it and drinking out of it with a filter tube? One google search on image finds thousands of these. Or even someone who spilled drinks on himself/herself? Same message, but not as offensive. The latter even, for me, adds a little humor to the pun. Instead of using "High" in the "drug sense," couldn't you have used a mountain climbing picture that would have conveyed the same message? It would be positive as well. Like many of my colleagues, I will continue to ask my congregation support the offering, but we will not use these flyers.

    by Jim Huang

    January 10, 2015

  107. These are very offensive with their stereotypes. Jokes should not be made about drinking and drug addictions. I'm afraid that this campaign will keep people from giving, just the opposite from the desired effect. I know of those with drinking problems who will be very offended. Please don't joke about "getting high above the flood waters" either; several members of my congregation flooded during Hurricane Katrina, some in New Orleans and (despite what most people think) some in the suburbs. What an insensitive campaign!

    by Christie Ruppel

    January 10, 2015

  108. A denomination that is 99% white complaining about when its racism surfaces in any overt manner. Trust me, statistically, your church is probably racist, not to mention homophobic, ageist, sexist, and while you have several 12 step programs renting from you, there would probably be an uproar if your church found out someone on leadership was actually working the steps.

    by david

    January 10, 2015

  109. Having worked for a short time with addicts, this is incredibly offensive. I can't imagine what my families will feel and do with their money when they see that we are using addiction as an ad campaign. It is not edgy, just insensitive and ignorant. Please, please pull these materials. Create a quality video with the ACTUAL recipients of our offerings for Living Waters, etc.

    by Deven Johnson

    January 10, 2015

  110. The congregation I serve has faithfully supported PCUSA special offerings. We will continue to do so. However, we will not use these promotional materials which are distasteful and offensive. BIG waste of funds. I hope you didn't print too many.

    by Fran Lane-Lawrece

    January 10, 2015

  111. Not only do I find the images offensive and misleading, I find it a poor use of PCUSA resources to hire out for a campaign like this when we have the talents and gifts within that could be utilized to develop more appropriate material. That is a disturbing trend in the larger church that only serves to raise our expenses unnecessarily.

    by Melodie Long

    January 10, 2015

  112. This add is horrible! Hope they trash it! However, I wish people would speak out or would have spoken out with the same kind of bold passion against the multitude of horrid theological decisions our denomination has made over the past 6 years! It's bad to offend and mischaracterize people groups (I'm Latino) but it's worse to do that to Christ and the gospel!

    by Rev. Ron Urzua

    January 10, 2015

  113. It is highly doubtful that this “slick” marketing campaign would either entice me into giving to any of the special offerings it was introducing me to nor to give more. What it does do is cause me to question if the leadership in Louisville is so far removed from those serving in the local parish, both Teaching and Ruling Elders AND the men and women who sit in the pews – all who give generously of their time and money to serve the local church and the denomination. This is especially the case following on the heels of the situation with the 1001 Worshiping Communities coming to light. Although the situations are different they do seem to have two common denominators: the judgment of some in denominational leadership and the good stewardship of the resources entrusted to our denomination.

    by Lisa

    January 10, 2015

  114. This points directly to the blinding implications of moving toward "branding" in the PC(USA) or any faith based traditions. Marketing has a tendency to creep into congregational and denominational life as a way of being more successful in outreach. Unfortunately, "marketing practices" such as "branding" are often more suspect by those who are regularly barraged by media tactics, setting back the welcoming we hope to witness and often inadvertently solidifying the perceptions and objections we hope to change. Seems this effort may be an example of that...

    by Ray Bagnuolo

    January 10, 2015

  115. Wow. The comment by WS Webb shows why this very program is critical to the future of our denomination. Many of our congregations are struggling to keep the doors open, because we are not reaching out in meaningful ways. We are worried too much about political correctness inside our own walls to confront the truths about the world outside of them. One of the very objectives of this campaign is to force dialogue inside of our congregations about the issues and the misleading stereotypes that go with them. Maybe we should quit worrying so much about what Miss Manners would do and think more about What Jesus Would Do. Grace, Peace and Love - Mark Snyder, Bentwood Trail Presbyterian Church - Dallas

    by Mark Snyder

    January 10, 2015

  116. As a lifelong Presbyterian who had tried to maintain connection to the church, I see this as just anther "disconnect" between those in leadership and the congregants they serve. Most people will not see past the glaring headline to see the small print. Ad agencies should know the constituency to which they are targeting their materials. Either someone in Louisville thinks much differently than I do or the ad agency missed the mark. However, given the past track record of those in leadership in Louisville, I sadly do not hold out how that they will consider how inappropriate many of us believe this campaign to be.

    by Dave Narigon

    January 10, 2015

  117. The text is inappropriate. I would use something like this "help her find clean, fresh water" or " help him find safety during natural disasters." Simple and too the point.

    by Dawn Imada

    January 10, 2015

  118. Like so many others who have commented, I am grateful for the desire to be edgy and creative with these campaigns. However, I also agree with the overwhelming majority of commenters that these ads miss the mark entirely. I will not restate what has already been mentioned in the comments numerous times, but I will emphasize that I will be strongly discouraging the congregation I serve from using these ads.

    by Chris Berardi

    January 10, 2015

  119. This campaign is deeply offensive and makes light of addiction issues while perpetuating racial stereotypes. As a denomination we've already got serious white privilege issues, and this plays into all of that. I'm a young pastor and I have a hard enough time articulating why the PCUSA is still relevant to the modern world -- please stop making my job harder than it already is.

    by Kate LeFranc

    January 10, 2015

  120. This is not provocative; it is in incredibly bad taste! Not to mention racist. And manipulative of people in true need. And just plain terrible, tacky, and awful. I cannot even find the right words to describe them. I hope you have not printed these materials because they will hit the trash can at my church.

    by Rev Jackie Leonard

    January 10, 2015

  121. While the branding and style may give the campaign a "fresh" feel, these images do not represent us. I find them needlessly hurtful and trite to both people of color and those with substance abuse issues. Instead of subverting stereotypes, the two pieces shown here get lost in them. As a denomination in the process of adding Belhar to its Book of Confession and with a partnership approach to mission, this campaign teaches the wrong lessons about our faith, our denomination and why giving to Special Offerings is important. Because we are part of the Church, what we communicate is as important as the amount of money we raise.

    by Joe Morrow

    January 10, 2015

  122. Many thoughtful and accurate criticisms in the comments about how these miss the mark. Just adding my amen.

    by Sue Washburn

    January 10, 2015

  123. I echo what so many above have said, friends and ministry partners with whom I have great respect. I deeply offended by these ads for many reasons: I and many others have lost family members to addiction. These posters are examples of racism and stereotypes, which have no place in the Church of Jesus Christ. I and many others have been victims of natural disasters (such as Hurricane Sandy), one of the many "ploys" in this "campaign." And many victims of natural disasters have then fallen into addiction. How could we tie these two things together in this way? How irresponsible. I worked with PMA last year to help use an image and story on that campaign from one of our global mission partners with whom I share my life's work. I cannot imagine their images being manipulated or used in this way. They would be so hurt and offended. Are these people models the ad agency used or images of mission partners? Did they give permission to have their images used in this way? I am so heartbroken because these flyers, etc. point out that the church leadership's anxiety over finances has become so extreme that it no longer is making sound decisions and ones that represent the values of the ministry that we share.

    by Shannan Vance-Ocampo

    January 10, 2015

  124. I don't even know where to begin.. These promotional materials are insensitive, racist and offensive. This cannot be the best our denomination can do? We will still support One Great Hour of Sharing, but we will not use the materials from the denomination. I get that we want to be relevant and hip, but this is not the way to do it. This campaign really makes me question the judgement of our denominational leaders.

    by Pam Saturnia

    January 10, 2015

  125. Why are we playing on the issue of substance abuse and juxtaposing that with ethnic images - only emphasizing the negative emotions surrounding race and drug abuse? As a denominations we've been part of the struggle to lift up people of color and demand equal rights and equal justice. This flies in the face of our commitment and makes light of the issues on which we really need to work. Please pull this campaign.

    by Barbara Vaughan

    January 10, 2015

  126. I'm sorry that so many people have problems with these materials. I actually find them intelligent, well-designed, and extremely effective at conveying the message. I've been extremely disappointed with most of the print and other forms of media produced by our denomination; it's lagged at least 40 years in creativity compared to the materials coming out of other denominations. This is a very good step forward.

    by Dwain Lee

    January 10, 2015

  127. This is what happens when marketing takes the lead over compassion and proclaiming the Gospel. Besides the exclusive use of apparently racial/ethnic individuals as "needy," I am profoundly offended that "NEEDS," followed by ironic language, is all that can be read at a glance and the punch line of what we can do to meet those needs is hidden in the smallest, palest type, and not very clear at that. I am writer in residence in the Presbytery of the Palisades and a publishing professional who is careful with the words I use and how they are presented, and I'm embarrassed for both my profession and my church to see these awful images. Please listen, take them down, and investigate how this happened.

    by Barbara Kellam-Scott

    January 10, 2015

  128. "...the campaign relies on powerful images and informational graphics rather than the long narratives used in the past." The narratives told a story; these images let folks make up a story that isn't true and the "lesson" is lost, if there is such a lesson. I think this is horrible!! :(

    by Sarah Cochran

    January 10, 2015

  129. Louisville, Please reconsider. The purpose is important but the methodology is wrong. Okay to admit the mistake, apologize, and let's move forward. Exploitive images in so many ways. Thanks.

    by Rob Smith

    January 10, 2015

  130. I appreciate the concern, but not the messenger. Please we have the opportunity to show, tell and live the "Good News" this, in my opinion, totally misses the mark. Please cancel ASAP all such secular efforts by PCUSA, you can do much better that this. Thank you for listening.

    by Stan L. Cobbs

    January 10, 2015

  131. I hope it isn't too late for us to cancel this material...if it arrives in our church office, it will go directly into the recycling bin, and we will be creating our own materials. Too bad because we *loved* the Peacemaking materials and based on those we decided to make a real push for OGHS this Lent. I am not sure how we'll do that now, but I do know it won't be with these. For one thing: there is a 0% chance I could hang a poster like this in our church where seven 12-step groups meet every week. For another: there is a huge amount of "those people spend money on drugs and alcohol so why give them money?" in white suburban mindsets--and this feeds that by putting the actual issue in the smallest print on the page. Please...just say no. To this ad campaign.

    by Teri Peterson

    January 10, 2015

  132. I'll be contacting you shortly to cancel our congregation's order for these materials. We will still collect the special offerings but choose to do so without using materials that are so hurtful to so many.

    by Rob Jackson

    January 10, 2015

  133. I cannot fathom using these promotional materials. Please send the churches something else so we can promote the good work of our special offerings. It would be sad to see a decrease in support from those churches who do faithfully support these offerings because we do not have appropriate materials with which to tell people about them.

    by Michelle Vetters

    January 10, 2015

  134. I am in conversations about the whole situaati I need surrounding this campaign. Aside from major issues of insensitivity to people with addiction issues, people of color being represented problematically, using issues of poverty for our own amusement and shock value, and a general way these will not serve the purpose they intend, I am now concerned that those involved have in a number of cases been flippant and have disregarded the concerns of those who are part of those groups I listed above in conversation on social media and who tell us were treated the same when they offered criticism before this was published anywhere. These need to go away, there needs to be apology to those 8ndividuals and groups who's lives are demand by them, and we clearly need serious sensitivity and anti racism conversations to happen where those of us of privilege just believe those who tell us our actions and words are harmful instead of excusing ourselves.

    by jessica

    January 10, 2015

  135. Creativity and finding compelling ways to get the message out - that's a good thing, but this is unimaginably awful. I tend to be a Presbyterian who is generally supportive of Louisville, but how anyone in denominational leadership could think for one moment that these weren't hugely offensive (there is no "pun"- that's a very different thing) with the overt racism, snark, and joking about addiction, only shows how deeply unexamined white privilege is entrenched in our denomination. To hear that many objections were raised and ignored only makes the decision to go forward with these materials more disheartening. Ditch this campaign, apologize, and start over.

    by Patrick Evans

    January 10, 2015

  136. To Whom It May Concern: What a shame! It is a big humiliation to use for "marketing purposes" two images, pictures or icons where you communicate a very powerful bias and reinforce some derogatory stereotypes regarding Immigrants. No matter if the pictures are from "Asian or Hispanic" you should not use these in such way these 2 pictures as an offensive demonstration of what you think about immigrants or people of different color. You must be very careful when you are using or communicating through the PCUSA Website some bias and stereotypes. As a believer in the God of justice, as a believer in the respect to others I think these pictures used as "marketing idea" must be strongly disapproved.

    by Rev. Rafael Hernandez from Presbytery of Cbarlotte

    January 10, 2015

  137. I am in agreement with the commenters who find this campaign disparaging and offensive to those who are meant to be served by Special Offerings. If the majority of pastors and congregations find these materials too offensive to be used to promote the 2015 OGHS campaign, surely there will be a negative impact on giving, rather than the hoped for increase. The small church I most recently served supported all four Spevial Offerings during the year, and it closed its doors at the end of 2014. Perhaps the declining numbers and resources of congregations across our denomination have more to do with decreased giving to Special Offerings than a lack of awareness about the good uses of these funds. Please reconsider the use of these materials before they are distributed.

    by Trina Portillo

    January 10, 2015

  138. I hear all the concerns of these flyers and agree that they were poorly done. My big concern is that the concept itself is dumb and antiquated. These flyers strike me as something for 1998. As far as race goes, I think they are damned if they do/damned if they don't. I feel like there would have been as much outrage if they were both white people (which is why this was a bad concept). It also show total ignorance to addiction (though most of the church does). Perhaps if they had actual gripping flyers instead of relying on silly word play, there never would be this problem. As far as to the how of these getting made; the process and checks and balances and whatnot, I can't say that I am entirely surprised that protests were ignored. There see to be a lot of individuals doing what they want going on within the denomination lately. I think that a more personalized flyer would do better. Let's see the benefits of Special Offerings. This seems lazy at best.

    by Nick Wallwork

    January 10, 2015

  139. Louisville? Are you listening? Folks are making abundantly clear that using images of people of color in this way is unacceptable. As a pastor serving a church which hosts nine 12 Step groups each week, these messages are demeaning and mock addiction and recovery.

    by Susan Phillips

    January 10, 2015

  140. Disappointed at many levels with these materials. If I served in a congregation, I would not support their use. We can do better than campaigns that make light of addition issues and vulnerable people.

    by Sarah Erickson

    January 10, 2015

  141. Not helpful. Too expensive, even if no money was paid for them.

    by Marilyn Donnelly

    January 10, 2015

  142. Poor decision making! Perhaps you had in mine marketing to 1001 new worshipping communities with this edgy approach... I think what you have done is alienate thoughtful, young and ethnic Christians and confuse the older base of our congregations - which by the way has historically be a strong donor base for the special offerings! I do hope precious year's special offering materials will be available to congregations that are offended or at the least put off by these new materials. Perhaps the ad agency that produced these "slick" new approaches should read some reformed theology or participate in a PDA effort. I am all for using humor to express our faith but not at someone else's expense. I just volunteered to assist in promoting the Special Offerings in my Presbytery. You have made the job harder!!!!!

    by Linda Jaberg

    January 10, 2015

  143. These ads are insensitive, racist, stereotyping, and over the line in terms of text. I cannot and will not be using them in my church, although we will continue to support the offering and the good work it does. I am personally hurt and bewildered as to how the office was blind enough to produce these and then release them. And for the record, I actually am a very young pastor, and I'm all for pushing the envelope in funny, creative ways. This is neither funny nor creative.

    by Kelly Boubel Shriver

    January 10, 2015

  144. I hope you're reading the comments. These posters are awful. I sure won't be posting them in the church I serve although I will be promoting the offerings.

    by Cheryl Montgomery

    January 10, 2015

  145. I appreciate what you were trying to do with these but they would really work only in a specific context. The majority of our congregation would probably be offended by these.

    by Kelly Staples

    January 10, 2015

  146. At this moment is not necessary to make an argument that others have expressed so very well. Yes, the material is offensive and uncover a racist approach affirming the white hegemony in the church. My point is more simple: Who is or are responsible for the production of this material? Who reviewed and authorized the text and pictures? If the Mission Agency stops this material) already printed and ready de send out, who is responsible for this expense in a time of budget limitations? Our fiduciary responsibilities as denomination are connected with our moral/theological responsibilities and the well being of our constituencies. NOBODY NOTICED THAT THIS MATERIAL WOULD BE A HUGE OFFENSE TO A BIG SEGMENT OF OUR CURCH? What are you going to do?

    by Rev. Jose Luis Casal

    January 10, 2015

  147. These images are disturbing and absolutely send the wrong messages. We can be creative without feeling the need to resort to shock-media, especially at such an expense. Please put the brakes on, pull these images and and change directions.

    by Nancy Dolan

    January 10, 2015

  148. The new direction of this campaign is highly insensitive and ignorant. Topics such as drug addiction and alcoholism can be painful and while the wordplay may catch the attention of some, it would do so at the expense of triggering shock of shame for former users that struggled with abuse or their loved ones. The images of people of color being associated with this image does nothing but to reinforce the stereotype that Presbyterians are old, white, privileged Christians that have money to donate for causes but lack the courage, compassion, and burden to invite or associate with disadvantaged Christians or people of color or to sit down with them as equals. I do not believe any of these stereotypes, (whether mentioned by me or portrayed by this campaign) have the potential to create Christ-likeness. In fact, it is now obvious that the marketing funds would be better utilized and honor Christ more effectively if they were used for training of discrimination awareness instead.

    by Cesar Perfecto

    January 10, 2015

  149. While I can understand desire to update materials, these are offensive. What a waste of PCUSA money. Can't image why people approved this.

    by Bonnie Ruggiero

    January 10, 2015

  150. the PCUSA has fallen to a low with this campaign. Please stop the denigrating, racist ad campaign.

    by Barbara Dua

    January 10, 2015

  151. I understand that the promo needs to be eye catching and modern, but as a Latino, I am embarrassed and sad for my denomination lack of sensitivity and better judgement. Entiendo que la promo tiene que ser llamativo y moderno, pero como latino, estoy avergonzado y triste para mi denominación falta de sensibilidad y buen juicio.

    by Tony Boada

    January 10, 2015

  152. I have been trying to put my frustration and anger into words for the past couple of hours now since first seeing this campaign. I actually first read this last night and unfortunately one of the first thoughts this morning was just " who thought THIS was a good idea?! I personally feel like this is the second time I am burned by my denomination for fundraising purposes. Back around 2006 a photo of my son was used making him poster child for a Hearts and Hands campaign, but it wasn't with me. It was a photo taken with a friend and the implied picture was that she was a poor brown teenage mom and that your dollars were going support her and others like her. Now we have poor brown people needing help with the stereotypes of druggies. I could deal if there were pictures of all races, but this is not the case. Perhaps we need to just expand the campaign with pictures of old white men with bold "Doesn't have a clue of how racist they are" with tiny print "and doesn't want to know". I would urge them to pull this campaign as I find this completely inappropriate, especially when we have protests going on all over our country that racism needs to stop. We appear the clueless out of touch people who only seem interested in serving to not with people of all races.

    by Jennifer Chow

    January 10, 2015

  153. Please remove this disgusting material from website, fire those who designed ads & start over.

    by Rev. Dr. Philip W. Oehler, Sr.

    January 10, 2015

  154. FAIL

    by Syd Weedon

    January 10, 2015

  155. I support our denomination's mission work through the special offerings, but I find this new promotional images very disturbing and racist. This in no way represent what we as Presbyterian Christians stand for.

    by The Rev. José Manuel Capella-Pratts

    January 10, 2015

  156. Not to put too fine a point on it -- this literature needs to be thrown out and replaced. Somebody obviously thought this was cute and clever, but all these images and slogans do is reinforce stereotypes that should have no place in a church that sees each human as a precious child of God. I find them offensive, and I'm disappointed that the church of which I am an officer (teaching elder) would put them out. My wife and I are long-time generous supporters of the special offerings for the work they do. This "campaign" is actually an obstacle to continuing support.

    by Richard Weis

    January 9, 2015

  157. I agree with Joann above. To take it further and to be more direct - You have got to be kidding. Horrible. Negative. Not funny - not ironic. Please stop now.

    by Rev. Ted Brandt

    January 9, 2015

  158. Not impressed. You missed the mark here by a long shot. It does nothing to shatter stereotypes. Please pull this campaign and go back to the drawing board.

    by Tina Vial

    January 9, 2015

  159. these ads are terrible. What you mean to catch the eye only diverts from the campaign. They are racist and offensive. What a waste of money. Most churches won't even use them. Way to miss the mark entirely.

    by Shannon

    January 9, 2015

  160. I find this ad campaign to be extremely harmful. Not only does it perpetuate stereotypes of people of color and women, but also makes light of alcohol and drug addictions. It makes me sad for our denomination. I hope that the amount of negative feedback about the inappropriate nature of this ad campaign with encourage our denomination to pull the campaign.

    by Megan Cochran

    January 9, 2015

  161. The National Hispanic/Latino Caucus of the PCUSA is dismayed with the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s marketing campaign for the Special Offering. Although slickly produced and eye catching, the materials yet again perpetuate stereotypical imagery of people of color. The lack of cultural awareness and innate white privilege of the publicity materials is accompanied by a dominant culture’s word play, one that is unwelcome and not understood by the diverse body that make up our denomination. While we are firm supporters of the Special Offering opportunity, we cannot support this year’s campaign and firmly register our disapproval.

    by National Hispanic/Latino Caucus of PCUSA

    January 9, 2015

  162. I echo what Joann Lee wrote above. The stereotypes continue. Who is doing this promotion? Privileged white males with no understanding of institutional racism who want to promote "doing for" instead of "doing with"? This is shameful.

    by Tony Aja

    January 9, 2015

  163. Please, do not send these out. Their impact is indeed powerful, but they do not serve the purpose you intended.

    by Kathleen McKenzie

    January 9, 2015

  164. While these ads are obviously attention grabbing, I also find them horrible offensive. Particularly because once you read them, your focus turns to the ubsurdity of them, rather than the actual need and message they are trying to convey. They should not be used. I would never use these at my church.

    by Sara b

    January 9, 2015

  165. I am appalled that our denomination would use such messaging to promote Special Offerings. This is hurtful, offensive and disrespectful to the communities we partner with. I am ashamed of our church. I really hope Special Offerings reconsiders and does not send these out.

    by sungyeon choimorrow

    January 9, 2015

  166. Thanks for your work. Got my attention. One of things I learned in stewardship is that effective efforts are sometimes opposed partly because they are effective. These are hard to ignore. Thanks for the effort and the creativity.

    by j Christy Ramsey

    January 9, 2015

  167. I support our denomination's mission work through the special offerings, but I find this new promotional images very disturbing and racist. This in no way represent what we as Presbyterian Christians stand for.

    by The Rev. José Manuel Capella-Pratts

    January 9, 2015

  168. I like the notion of edgy and acknowledge that from my demographic (60+, white, retired) I haven’t a clue about how our clunky Presbyterian enterprise gets to edgy from here. But I hear, loud and clear, from allies, sisters and brothers, beloveds in demographics pictured in these ads that the images miss the mark. We all miss the mark, hamartia, if we fail to listen.

    by Kathy Stoner-Lasala

    January 9, 2015

  169. This is incredibly inappropriate. Marketing must match our values and this does not. Or, at least I hope this is not what we claim to value as the PCUSA

    by K Davis

    January 9, 2015

  170. Terrible choice of words and images. Having a drinking problem and getting high are no laughing matter. And associating people of color with addiction and needs is demeaning. Perhaps the campaign can be turned on its head, so that we invite people to think about who is responsible for climate change and what we can do about it.

    by Magdalena Garcia

    January 9, 2015

  171. I find these to be in very poor taste. As the pastor of a very small congregation which only participate in two of these special offerings, and only marginally in those, this would not encourage giving AT ALL.

    by Tracy Spencer-Brown

    January 9, 2015

  172. While the intention may have been positive, I think these images are confusing and offensive.

    by Jane Tuma

    January 9, 2015

  173. Sorry guys, the look is nice, but there's no way we could use these inserts in our worship bulletins. And I wouldn't put the posters up in our church. I get the desire to be a little edgy, but I have to agree with Joann-- the history of race relations, and the current state of race relations in our country, make this a really really bad direction right now.

    by Becky Downs

    January 9, 2015

  174. This promotional material seems inappropriate. Perhaps an invitation to partner as a "giver" would be more effective that what comes accross as some kind of modern sarcasm that promotes unhealthy stereotypes. The body of Christ can do better than this.

    by Alexandra

    January 9, 2015

  175. Uh. Please reconsider this campaign. Good intent, bad execution on the part of a church denomination.

    by Bob Pearson

    January 9, 2015

  176. I am very sad that the PCUSA mission is using this approach. I do not think these images or "puns" will generate the reaction that is being hoped for - increased and sustained support for mission. Using phrases that make one think of substance abuse is wrong and very insensitive to those who deal with substance abuse and for those who are actually the intended focus of the mission. This publicity needs to be changed.

    by Michael Landon

    January 9, 2015

  177. As a graphic designer (and pastor) I can appreciate what the design agency was trying to do, but the execution is weird. They should have used actual photos from times when PDA (or other denominational arms) have actually been in action -- at the very least, photos of people actually served, with part of their story/how PCUSA made an impact on their life. This would provide better context and feel less objectifying and avoid the smacking of racism (an area where there is much ground to be gained in our denomination). It's not enough to be "edgy" for the sake of edginess -- especially in the church, where we're (supposed to be) encouraging thoughtful engagement.

    by Emily McGinley

    January 9, 2015

  178. I am all for creativity, playfulness, and even well-placed snark, but, I'm sorry, this misses the mark -- big time. While we do some very good things, I am really disappointed that my denomination is going through with this offering campaign.

    by Bruce Reyes-Chow

    January 9, 2015

  179. My church participates in each of the four special offerings, and will continue to do so, but we're not going to be using these promotional materials. I've heard from folks on several advisory committees who urged Special Offerings not to use them and were ignored. I appreciate the impulse behind developing the materials, but I think that both the materials themselves, and the processes behind their creation and implementation, reinforce troubling dynamics in our society and in our church.

    by Steven Andrews

    January 9, 2015

  180. While I appreciate the desire to develop and implement an ad campaign that is within 21st century style guidelines, I am sorry to see the content reinforces the racism and sexism usually associated with the earlier centuries. The PC(USA) could and should do better than this. This ad campaign reinforces white privilege in a way I thought almost impossible given the denominations alleged commitment to learning from its history. The potential usefulness of a provocative ad campaign should not be used at the expense of those who have been marginalized by the church for centuries (people of color, women) and who are now central to the future growth of the denomination. Leaving the growth of denomination out of it, the church should not be perpetuating or playing off of stereotypes in this way. And certainly not to make money. As someone who joined the PC(USA) as a young adult and earned a M.Div at one of the denomination's seminaries, this is embarrassing and shameful. I can only hope whoever is responsible for implementing this campaign on a national level will consider revoking it and offering an apology.

    by Honna Eichler

    January 9, 2015

  181. These images are highly offensive and disrespectful. I am APPALLED that our church thinks this is okay. How in the world did this get approved for print?

    by sungyeon choimorrow

    January 9, 2015

  182. While these images may have been intended to use wordplay "to highlight the absurdity of the stereotypes people might have about the people benefiting from the offerings," it actually does so at their expense. "Needs help getting high? Needs help with her drinking problem?" It perpetuates stereotypes rather than dismantling them. And in light of this denomination's history of racism and white privilege, it's pretty offensive. Furthermore, doesn't the Christmas Joy offering which is a Special Offering support retired clergy, many of whom are white men? What need are they being pictured with?

    by Joann Lee

    January 8, 2015

  183. When are the dates for these special offerings? It would be helpful to know them. Thanks.

    by M. Jean Morgan

    January 2, 2015

  184. Our church is taking special offerings to keep the doors open.

    by w s webb

    December 3, 2014