There are two little, magic words
That can open any door with ease...
You know how that nursery rhyme ends, right? I'd like to build on that verse in this unusual opportunity to speak directly to you, our readers. The first of the two little words, of course, is thanks. Less than a year ago, together we embarked upon a great experiment with United Church News, looking for a new way of proclaiming the good news that God is doing through the United Church of Christ. We created a new look and feel for the newspaper and a way of making it available free to anyone who wanted it. But who knew how you would respond?
The response has been little short of amazing. Our readership has increased from 55,000 last June to 140,000 today. We had 14 conference editions; now we have 26. Our advertising revenues have increased dramatically and more than 2,300 readers have contributed in excess of $40,000.
From the graph below, you can see that circulation has far exceeded our expectations, which had been to reach 100,000 subscribers after one year, not six months. And so, I say to each of you, thanks. Thanks for the enthusiastic way you have received and supported this ministry.
The second little word in that old nursery rhyme is please. Please remember that the astounding response from UCC members—40,000 more subscribers than we projected—needs all of our support. As Paul says, "as you excel in everything ... excel also in this generous undertaking ... so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means" (II Cor., 8:7,11).
The numbers only begin to tell the story. What we've learned through this process is that when the stories of our faith are told with warmth and compassion, the storytellers are affirmed and Christ's whole church is uplifted. Oh sure, there still are controversies (how boring would life be if it were otherwise!), but the spirit of sharing in our churches and among our members evident in United Church News points to stirrings underway in our midst. Our historic commitments to justice and to a radical embrace are made incarnate in those poignant, personal struggles we all experience, struggles that we can endure because of our faith in God's love and the support we receive from our church family.
United Church News is like a bridge into the UCC's new and abundant future that I believe these stirrings represent. There is excitement and energy among our members that is transforming lives and communities in new and unexpected ways. And I believe it's only just begun. New churches are sprouting. Revitalized congregations are growing. New models for leadership development are unfolding. The new identity emphasis, based on the phrase God is still speaking and featured on the opposite page, is creating its own sparks of enthusiasm. The web site that accompanies this effort, , has captivated people.
So I ask three things. First, join with thousands of your fellow UCC members and contribute to the ministry of United Church News so we can continue to meet this exciting and unprecedented demand. Second, be alert for a mailing that will come to your congregation in the fall, as we ask individual churches to include the ministry of United Church News in their budgets. And third, please continue to pray for the ministry of the storytellers and those whose stories are being told, that the whole world will know how God is still speaking in our midst.
Thanks...and God bless,
The Rev. Robert Chase, Publisher
United Church News
Keep opening new doors...
Click here to make a contribution to United Church News;
Encourage your congregation to budget for its gift to this communication ministry;
Pray that God's re-awakening Spirit continues among us.