Momentum is building for the planned changes in the look, distribution and financing of United Church News.
The South Dakota and Penn West Conferences will join the United Church News family beginning with the July/August issue.
Other conferences are close to a similar decision, only awaiting action by the appropriate committees or boards.
"These changes in United Church News could be the most important signal that we're sending to the local church that this is a new day in the UCC," says the Rev. Ron Eslinger, Illinois South Conference Minister.
"This is really hopeful for the future," says the Rev. Erwin Bode, interim conference minister in Massachusetts. "It represents the best of new attitudes and plans coming out of the national resturcture."
Beginning with the July/August, post-General Synod issue, all across the UCC the newspaper's front page will have a common look, similar to that of today's national edition; that is, it will have a large, color photograph and a "good news" story. Conference editions that currently "wrap around" the national edition will have their nameplate, or "flag," on the front page of the national section—and will have their own conference section inside.
United Church News will be made available free to anyone who asks to be put on the mailing list. In return, readers and churches will be asked to contribute voluntarily to this communication ministry. The benefits of having a denominational publication with a unified look and free distribution are many.
"I can find no reason this new plan won't be a tremendous opportunity," says the Rev. Gayle Engle, Missouri Mid-South Conference Minister, "both for greater UCC identity and for enhanced awareness of our mutual ministries."