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Ad campaign successful in Houston area

Houston area campaign giving churches new energy.
By Amelia Koford
Fall 2005 8.15.05

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In the first few months of 2005 the Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston doubled its number of visitors, and the Northwest Community Church in Houston experienced a 45 percent growth in membership. Both were among eight Unitarian Universalist congregations benefiting from a three-and-a-half-month media campaign in the Houston area. The ads, which were placed in radio, newspaper, magazine, Internet, and billboard outlets, used slogans such as “Imagine a religion where people of different beliefs worship as one faith,” and “Room for different beliefs…yours.”

The eight congregations worked with the UUA to organize the campaign, which cost approximately $212,000 and was financed by private donors. “We’re very pleased with the results,” said Valerie Holton, the UUA’s marketing outreach consultant. “We’re pleased with the number of visitors, we’re pleased with the membership growth, and we’re pleased with the transformational nature of the campaign in ways churches do outreach as well as the way they work together.”

Congregational leaders say the campaign gave their churches new energy. “It gave more permission for everybody to be engaged and positive,” said the Rev. Mark Edmiston-Lange of Emerson Unitarian Church. “It seems that we are more well known and respected and taken more seriously.” The Rev. Matt Tittle of Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church agreed, saying, “People recognize us as a mainstream faith.”

The UUA sponsored a similar campaign in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to create awareness of Unitarian Universalism at the time of General Assembly held there in June.

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