The power of banners

Unitarian Universalist congregations are discovering the power of banners.

They have been putting up banners on the outside (some on the inside) of the buildings proclaiming that "Black Lives Matter".

They are breaking through the shell of ineffectuality that has surrounding progressive politics for a generation: that sense that no one notices, and no one cares, when progressives stand up for social justice. It is as though the world says, "what else is new?"

But hang a controversial banner on the outside of a church, and you get a reaction. People steal them. People deface them. People modify them. It takes bravery and courage to persist. Other people are encouraged and supported by the church's persistence in the face of opposition. The congregation is communicating.

The history for Unitarian Universalist congregations is long. For decades the Wayside Pulpits were our primary tool for evangelism. Short pithy quotes that challenged conventional religious thinking were right there where other churches put their dull and expected messages.

Then came the Rainbow flags that communicated our support for GLBTQ people.

And then the Standing on The Side of Love banners.

And now, Black Lives Matter.

For many of our congregations, our buildings are our most important means of communicating who we are and what we stand for. Some of our buildings are extraordinarily beautiful, and some are very prominent in their community.

Isn't it ironic that in these times of social media and the explosion in ways of communicating, Unitarian Universalists are finding the most impactful way they communicate is by hanging a banner on their building.


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