Uniting Sydney

May 5, 2016 / by Kent Crawford / in: News

Greetings friends,

As you are no doubt aware our sisters and brothers across the UnitingCare network have recently undertaken a collective rebrand and logo refresh. They are now called Uniting and have launched a significant marketing campaign recently.

The advertising of the new name, logo and colour scheme began with this clip.

About 30 seconds into the clip it says that the name ‘Uniting’ is inspired by their foundations. A cross then appears in the middle of the screen, and soon after two simple figures of people appear, one on either side of the cross. In simple visual language the story of a people gathered around the cross of Jesus Christ is emphasised as the foundation of all the activities that come under the banner Uniting. This animation is repeated at the end of the clip. As the website towards which the clip points says:

“We confidently believe that through the life,
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,
God brings us into right relationship with God.”

I’m sure I can hear a volume of “Amens” from here as people across Sydney Presbytery read this email!

I understand a number of reasons were behind this rebrand. For example, awareness of the previous brand UnitingCare and its logo was previously very low, particularly compared with the Salvation Army which research shows has 80% unprompted awareness in our community. As a plethora of changes occur within the community services space, Uniting leadership discerned the need to think through how to communicate clearly who we are, what we stand for and what we do.

Like me, you might have seen the ads on the back of buses and on bus shelters in recent days with pictures of smiling faces and message of inclusion and welcome that are proudly branded Uniting. I understand that soon ads will appear on-screen in local cinemas.  You might have seen in person or on Facebook an interactive space set up by Uniting as a huge welcome mat in Martin Place in the city this week.

If you haven’t yet, I strongly encourage you to see the short films below, of encounters between various people involved at Uniting that were recently released. They explore what happens when two strangers sit down together for the very first time and the conversations they then have that explore the unexpected connections between two people.

Perhaps you can already see the opportunity that is in front of us. As our community service arm rebrands and publicly names itself alongside the Church we have the opportunity to more fully live out our collective calling as ambassadors of Jesus Christ – people who speak and act on behalf of Jesus as part of God’s great project for reconciliation and renewal. There are, in many places, long-held stories of missed opportunities and fractured relationships between the church and community services. The pain of mistakes and missteps is real and close for many. The challenges of finding a common language and practice between the local expression of church and Uniting’s programs and services are very present and shouldn’t be glossed over.

However, the word Uniting is getting out there. This may well be a moment of significant importance for us as a Church to demonstrate to our communities the difference faith in Jesus Christ makes to us and our engagement in the realities of the world around us. I, for one, hope we take this opportunity in ways that are creative and courageous, inspirational and infectious!

What are your thoughts on the rebrand and the campaign you’re seeing all around you? Let me know – I’m keen to hear!

Every blessing,
Kent