Church magazines are weathering the lockdown

While churches across the UK are embracing digital technology by live-streaming services and meeting up via a range of online platforms, the 'humble' church magazine is also being transformed.

The results of a new poll just released by, a resource website that supplies graphics and editorial material to around 2,000 church publications, shows how magazines have changed during lockdown.

As the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, the Church of England issued guidance that made churches look closely at their publications. The CofE advised: "Coronavirus may live on paper and cardboard surfaces for up to 24 hours, so any paper delivery represents a transmission risk.

"For this reason, parishes are encouraged to look to digital communication, and telephone calls to keep in touch."

In response, the poll of Parish Pump subscribers shows that a quarter of parish magazines ceased publication. But around two-thirds went digital or are now producing both printed and digital versions.

Anne Coomes, Parish Pump's editor, said: "It's great news that so many have gone digital – we warmly welcome it. Far from stopping church magazine production during this crisis, I think it's critical to keep it going.

"People all over the country are now more isolated from their local church family than they have ever been in their lives. A church magazine can help keep them in touch with each other."

She added: "We hope that many of the churches who at first decided to simply stop their magazines will now reconsider, and at least try the digital option for a few months.

"We know that of the hundreds of church magazine editors who have gone digital, many are even attracting new readers at this time."

In one Hertfordshire parish, the church stopped producing a paper version of its magazine and offered a digital version via a community Facebook site.

The editor said: "I've hardly been able to keep up over the last couple of days, with requests mainly generated by the Facebook group coming in every couple of hours.

"We've also had some very gratifying feedback both about the magazine itself, and the editor's role in 'helping to keep things going.' One new reader this week emailed to say she enjoyed it so much she was already impatiently waiting for next month's copy!"

Rev Peter Crumpler, a former Director of Communications for the Church of England, said: "It's been really good to see how quickly churches of all denominations have taken up all kinds of digital technologies.

"But in a wide range of parishes, the humble church magazine remains an important way of keeping in touch with the local community. This research shows that many churches have moved their magazines online and that this has been valued by local people."