The number of subscribers to United Church News has climbed a staggering 260 percent in the past two and one-half years.
The newspaper's July/August 2001 issue was mailed to only 63,784 subscribers, while bulk orders took the number of total copies to 70,237.
But, as of the January/February 2004 issue, subscriptions had grown to 166,416 for a total of 172,321 copies, according to Tanya Erikson of the New Jersey-based Publishers Information Center, the company that coordinates United Church News' mailing list.
Based on survey figures that show almost two readers per copy, total readership is estimated at 330,000 or about one-fourth of the UCC's 1.3-million membership. United Church News is available, without charge, to any UCC member; however, a yearly donation is requested.
Congregations wanting to submit members' names and addresses should send information to United Church News, P.O. Box 247, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-0247 or by e-mail at pubinfocenter.com.
"We urge all churches who can to send in [electronic] files as opposed to printed documents," Erikson says, because United Church News is charged 25 cents for each manual entry of a new subscriber, whereas a data conversation costs only 2 cents. "That's quite a difference."
Twenty nine of the UCC's 39 Conferences, plus one local church, publish their own editions of United Church News.
Those living in Conferences without specialized editions receive the national edition only.