At the beginning of Advent this past year our congregation stopped using the NPH bulletin covers. The covers feature full color pictures and usually have a phrase from one of the lessons for that Sunday of the church year. However, it seemed that more often than not, the featured phrase was not the part of that lesson that made a connection to the other lessons and formed the theme for the day. In some cases, the emphasis on the cover seemed to draw the emphasis away from the theme of the day. On top of that, Christian Worship Supplement has a supplementary lectionary and if we happen to substitute the lesson with the featured phrase, the cover really makes little sense.
The cost of the bulletin covers is not outrageous, but there was a savings for us in dropping the subscription. We were also starting to print out our services in the bulletins, so the cost savings from the covers has helped cover the cost of the extra printing.
So, for several months now I have had to find some kind of graphic to use on the cover to our bulletin. I have almost always been able to find something appropriate from the collection Clip Art…for the Liturgical Year. That’s my go-to clip art collection. If someone has a good suggestion for another collection with high-quality B/W art suitable for this kind of thing, leave me a comment.
But every once in a while I just can’t find something that really fits. That happened last Sunday. I just couldn’t find something that was just right. So I tried something that I had seen before, but had never found an opportunity to use it.
Wordle.net is a web application that creates a graphic visualization of a body of text, with the most frequent words in larger type. I tried it with my sermon text, the second lesson for the day—Ephesians 2:4–10. This is what I got:
I thought it turned out very well and was exactly what I needed for my bulletin cover. I’m sure that not every text works out like that, with the most frequent words as the most important words. But this is a tool I’ll probably want to check every once in a while, especially when I can’t find a bulletin cover.