United Church News housekeeping: A little bit of this, that
Written by J. Bennett Guess
December 2007 - January 2008
December 1, 2007

United Church News is always changing.That's why, from time to time, it's this editor's prerogative to point out what's new and exciting, lest someone miss out. Here's an end-of-the-year look at what we're up to — and what we need from you.

1. We're still growing.

In October, we welcomed 19,000 new subscribers from the Iowa Conference, making it the 32nd Conference to join our news family. Now, folk in Iowa not only receive their Conference news, but they also receive this National section in tandem.

We think this kind of Conference-National partnership enables the church's news to be delivered in complementary — not competing — fashion. Plus we benefit financially from shared delivery, and both sections arrive at your doorstep in seamless fashion with a familiar look and feel. The message is subtle, but sure: "We're one church."

Thanks to Iowa, a whopping 206,000 households now receive United Church News, meaning we've become one of the largest mainline denominational newspapers in the country. More than one-third of UCC households now receive it.

By comparison, the United Methodist's Interpreter Magazine has 200,000 subscribers, Presbyterians Today has 55,000, U.S. Catholic has 35,000, and DisciplesWorld has 10,500.

Add to our subscription list at www.ucc.org/ucnews/how-to-subscribe.html.

2. We'd like to have your e-mail address.

Thanks to the immediacy of online news — and given that we publish just six times annually — more and more of our headlines appear online at <ucc.org/news>. While it once could take weeks for denominational news to reach you via print, we're now informing you within hours.

But we have a problem: Even though we have 206,000 print subscribers, we only have 8,500 e-mail addresses. That's a sad percentage.

We would like to reach more of you electronically, especially with our twice-monthly rundown of headlines. So will you send us your e-mail address?

By responding with the reply envelope that's tucked inside this newspaper, our subscription service can sync your e-mail address with the rest of your subscription information. Or, if you'd prefer to do so online: First, become a "log-in" user at www.ucc.org/login.html, and, second, check "United Church News" from the list.

And we'll stay in touch — without being a pest.

3. We're getting prettier.

We've never been content with the low quality of our newsprint, but we never could afford the upscale stuff. But, thanks to a new arrangement with our printer, we're now getting the same higher-quality recycled paper used by their other clients. By purchasing just one kind of newsprint, our printer gets better bulk prices and reduces their storage costs, and we're able to offer you a much-better product. You're looking at it.

Because United Church News now has a longer shelf life, we thought we needed paper that ages more gracefully.

4. We entered the 21st century.

Two months ago, United Church News debuted its new blog to lift up stories about UCC churches, members and issues making secular news. The Rev. Chuck Currie — UCC minister and veteran blogger — is typing feverishly and doing a great job, and so far it's been a big hit. Check it out at unitedchurchofchrist.blogspot.com or link from www.ucc.org/news.

5. We really need your contribution.

Two years ago, the frequency of United Church News was reduced from 10 to six issues annually. The reason? Money.

Since then, we've made a concerted effort to pay our way. We've increased our advertising revenue by more than 300 percent, and we've been upfront about the absolute necessity of your regular financial contributions.

So far this year, we've received $75,000 from our readers. It's much appreciated. But that's only half of the amount we need to meet our contributions budget for the year. We're hoping that an end-of-the-year surge will push us over the top.

I have faith in our readers. I know people appreciate this newspaper. That's why there's no need to beg. Instead, I'll simply ask: Before year's end, will you return the reply envelope with your donation enclosed? Or contribute online at www.ucc.org/make-a-gift.

Thanks in advance. 


Rev. J. Bennett Guess
Executive Minister, Local Church Ministries
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115