From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Council Applauds Spanish-Language Television Ads

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date 12 Apr 2000 10:32:30


April 12, 2000


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA) viewed four Spanish-language television
advertisements designed to increase public awareness of the church among
Spanish-speaking people in the United States and Caribbean.  The council
received an update on the ELCA Identity Project in which Spanish-language 
advertisements are a significant component.
     The Church Council is the ELCA's board of directors and serves as
the legislative authority of the church between its churchwide
assemblies.  The council met here April 7-9.  Assemblies are held every
other year; the next is in August 2001 in Indianapolis.
     The ELCA's Identity Project is a national multimedia effort aimed
at expanding public awareness of the Lutheran church, inviting and
welcoming people to the church, and providing positive reinforcement for
those who are already members of the church.
     The Spanish-language television ads -- two 60-second and two 30-second 
spots -- will be placed in areas where ELCA congregations use
Spanish as their primary language for worship, education and outreach,
said the Rev. Eric C. Shafer, director of the ELCA Department for
Communication.  Shafer delivered to the council an update on the work of
the Identity Project.
     The Rev. Mario C. Miranda, a council member from Bayamon, Puerto
Rico, commended the Department for Communication on its efforts in
"capturing the diversity among Spanish-speaking people" in the
television ads.
     "We plan to place the television spots in California, Florida,
Texas, Puerto Rico and other markets.  Spanish-text print and radio ads
are under development and should be ready for production in the next few
weeks," Shafer told the council.
     Work on the Spanish-text version of the ELCA "seekers" Web site -- -- is near completion, Shafer said.
     The English-based "seekers" Web site -- --
has had a total of 33,848 accesses, with 4,343 of them in January 2000,
Shafer said.  "Our hope is that many of these 33,848 individuals are new
to the ELCA and even to the Christian faith," he said.
     "Since its introduction in 1998, the ELCA Identity Project has
become a part of the communication evangelism program of about 4,000
congregations and groups of congregations in 54 of the church's 65
synods," Shafer told the council.  "Through television, radio, outdoor
advertising, print ads and the Web, project participants are
strengthening their evangelism outreach efforts."
     Because of the "generous matching grant program" of Aid
Association for  Lutherans, the Identity Project has been put directly
into the hands of our congregations and synods, Shafer said.  Aid
Association for Lutherans is a fraternal benefit society based in
Appleton, Wis.
     More than $1.8 million in grants have been distributed to
congregations and synods for carrying out the work of the Identity
Project, Shafer said.  Individuals have participated in training events
designed to hone hospitality skills and extend invitations by using the
materials in the Identity Project Media Kit, which contains samples of
print pieces for newspaper advertisements, direct mail, billboard
designs, and radio and television spots.
     The council designated $3.5 million for the project, including $2
million in reserve funds in 1999.
     In his concluding comments, Shafer told the council that
participants in the Identity Project will place the national campaign on
cable television stations and, in 2001, will research how the campaign
has made the Lutheran church known among the public.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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