Seeking to overcome a decade of striving be more universal in their appeal that has left members switching congregations and feeling disconnected, some protestant churches are waging aggressive campaigns to reassert their religious identities, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 19.
“There’s a limit to how far you can go with the ecumenical approach and not end up feeling scattered,” the Rev. Brian C. Taylor, an Episcopal priest in Albuquerque, N.M., told the Journal.
Many churches aim to build a stronger “brand identity” to lure more people back to the pews, Daniel Aleshire, executive director of the 243-member Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada, told the Journal.
In January, the United Methodist Church—the faith’s largest U.S. bloc — will launch a $20 million media campaign, its biggest ever, to boost denominational awareness.
And last year, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the biggest Lutheran branch, with 5.2 million members, began “Project Identity,” a $5.2 million, two-year public relations campaign that includes TV and radio ads.
The effort was launched after a 1996 poll found that only 3 percent of Americans knew little about Lutheranism except that it was a religion.