Picture this: River Falls congregation offers new take on annual report

We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words.

What if a series images could take the place of a congregation’s traditional, pages-long annual report?

That’s what’s happened at First Congregational UCC in River Falls, where a colorful four-page graphic report accompanied the traditional 30-pager. The Rev. Stacy Johnson Myers, the congregation’s minister of Christian education, said the graphic format addresses a perennial question: How do we tell our story?

“It explains so much information in such an accessible format,” Johnson Myers told Wisconsin Conference Life. “Last year was the first time we did it because the (annual) meeting was all online. It was so effective, we did it even larger this year.”

Johnson Myers has some experience using images to tell a good story. She is the creator of Picture the Bible, an approach to Bible study that uses a set of 52 images to engage students and leaders in stories from the Bible. For the graphic annual report, Johnson Myers partnered with Kathryn Brewer, the same Twin Cities graphic artist who collaborates with her on Picture the Bible.

The graphic report was a hit with the congregation, and was especially important in reaching children and other visual learners.

“People really appreciated it,” Johnson Myers said. “Kids, even the little ones, were able to figure out what’s important to us based on the pictures.”

As for the traditional written report to the congregation’s 600 members? It isn’t going anywhere.

“I’m pretty sure very few people read them cover to cover,” Johnson Myers said. The graphic report “people have actually studied. They come up with questions. It’s a reflection of our values. I think it’s reaching a lot of people.”


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