Church of England celebrates 150 years of the parish magazine
Published 15 January 2009
The Church of England has launched a new section of its website in celebration of 150 years of the parish magazine.
The Church estimates that the combined readership of its parish magazines exceeds that of several national newspapers, taken together.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says on the new website: “A good parish magazine is a wonderful resource that places the local church at the heart of the community it serves.
“We owe our gratitude to all those who labour lovingly to produce this regular shop-window for their church or parish. As a team or solo, with a generous budget or an alarmingly fraying shoestring, this is a ministry we need to recognise and to support.”
The site comprises commendation from the Archbishop of Canterbury, '150 not out: A historical sketch', 'In praise of church magazines', tributes from the editors of the Church Times and Church of England Newspaper, a prayer for magazine editors, and links to on-line resources.
Noone is quite sure exactly when the modern parish magazine was born, but despite claims for Frome's The Old Church Porch (first published 1854), it is generally thought that Erskine Clarke's Parish Magazine of January 1859 probably marks the real start of the genre.
“These much-maligned publications could be the secret weapon of ‘the mission-shaped church’," says Peter Crumpler, Director of Communications for the Archbishops’ Council.
He goes on to suggest four key actions to give parish magazines a future:
1) Look good
2) Be a vital part of your church’s mission
3) Know your readership – and encourage them to take part
4) Work with the church’s other communications channels
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