By George Hallas
The Fellowship of Orthodox Churches in Connecticut (FORCC) last year rented five billboards which were located on major access roads in four different cities. The billboards read:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
WE GREET YOU WITH THE JOY OF THE RESURRECTION!
The Fellowship of Orthodox Churches in Connecticut
The billboard included a full-sized line-drawing “icon” of the Resurrection. With the bright yellow background, the blue, purple, and white colors of the icon and the black lettering, our billboards were quick to be seen by many people in all four major cities. It was clear that the Orthodox were celebrating Pascha!
The cost of the rental for all five billboards was under $900.00 because one of the billboard companies in our region has a policy of donating space to non-profit organizations. FORCC paid for the art design and the paper. The billboard company posted the boards and volunteered the space. Each billboard alone would cost a business or commercial organization $4,000.00. We later found out that there are other billboard companies in our state that also contribute space to charitable organizations. Holy Ghost Parish in Bridgeport, CT, under the direction of the rector, Father Michael Koblosh, and the parish council, paid for the design and paper for a billboard in an excellent location on a hill readily visible to many. Their billboard read:
CONNECTICUT’S ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS
GREET YOU WITH THE JOY OF THE RESURRECTION!
CELEBRATED ON April 27, 1997
Holy Ghost Orthodox Church
Main Street Bridgeport, CT
A parish of the Orthodox Church in America
This year FORCC and area parishes are planning to expand the number of billboards to eight across the state with the news that “Christ is Risen!” It is possible for other communities to do the same. These are the steps toward making this possible:
1. Check the yellow pages of the telephone directory under the subject “Outdoor advertising.” Call each company listed and ask if they contribute billboard space to non-profit organizations.
2. If they say yes, ask them for their application.
3. The application may require a nominal fee such as $10.00, and information such as the non-profit tax number of the church along with a letter stating why your organization wants a billboard. FORCC wrote that one of its purposes is to promote community understanding of the Orthodox Christians. In the state of Connecticut, Orthodoxy is recognized as the fourth major faith along with Roman Catholicism, Protestantism and Judaism.
4. Design an ad. You may want to use the one that FORCC used. Keep the wording simple, and perhaps use clip art for the picture. Ask about the different costs for colors, and use colorsbright colors!
5. The billboard company may want you to meet with the art designer about any details. Usually that meeting is brief, and actually, if you do this on an annual basis, the design phase of the project is already done for you after the first year. Ask if you have a choice of where the billboard is to be put. Because this is a donation by the billboard company, the company has the last word on location. However, in the case of the Bridgeport parish, the company made an effort to put the billboard up in the area that the parish requested.
6. After the billboard has been up (usually for a month), write a thank you note to the company.
One last note: Some billboard companies require a three-month “lead time” to design and deliver. Other companies require only a two to three-week lead time. If you want your billboard up for Pascha, start in January or February and explain that you want the billboard up for the period after Easter.