The Magazine’s thematic approach began with a focus on remembrance in the autumn of 2014. Themes over the following years included loving our neighbours, our calling and vocation, rural outreach, criminal justice, mental health, prayer, truth, poverty and so many more.
Writing in the first issue, Editor Barbara Bryant said:
“My intention is for The Magazine to inform, inspire and perhaps to challenge! I hope the result reflects the best of this diocese: the people in our churches and schools, and the difference their faith makes to the communities in which they live.”
Reflecting on the publication ceasing she said:
“Editing The Magazine has been a wonderfully creative experience. I have had the pleasure of working with so many people who are passionate about how their faith, life experiences and interests give glory to God at work in their lives. It’s been a joy to share such stories with a wider audience.”
A number of factors have come together at this time to make its publication and distribution harder than ever.
The most recent edition was published in Spring 2020 just before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the UK. With church buildings being forced to close, the distribution of copies to congregation members and local communities through availability in churches has not been possible and this remains so. Whilst many church buildings are now open for worship, the footfall in churches is naturally considerably reduced, and it could be some time before this gets back to pre-COVID levels.
Speaking about the decision, the Director of Marketing & Communications, Gordon Darley, said:
“The Magazine has been deeply valued by so many, and I want to pay tribute to Barbara Bryant, the Editor, for the outstanding work she has done in curating and shaping such a worthwhile publication. The quality of the content has been exceptional, and I know from the feedback we receive each issue that it has been well loved and well read.
“Printed publications are important. Many congregation members and readers from the wider community do not have internet access and the church must continue to communicate with them. For those with internet access, a physical publication is often a more enjoyable and easier way to read and think about the words shared.
“The loss of this publication will be felt by many but given the publication’s cost and the urgent need to save money the decision is understandable; none-the-less we are saddened it has had to be made. We’re looking ahead to what might be possible moving forward as footfall to churches increases in the coming years.”
Advertising revenue is currently at a record low with businesses and charities across the country significantly reducing their expenditure both now and into the foreseeable future. Postage costs to deliver multiple copies to each parish continue to rise, and the cost of posting individual copies to homes is expensive without advertising revenue, given the publication’s weight. To continue the publication in its existing format would therefore be more costly than before the pandemic, alongside a reduced readership, and as Bishop Graham wrote in his recent article in PCC News, the diocese needs to reduce its central costs and expenditure.