So. The Church magazine was dead on it's feet a few years ago, before a friend picked up the editorship and managed to take it off life-support. For very good reasons, he is now wanting to concentrate on other things, and I have said that I will - in the very short term, ie between now and Christmas - take over that job.
Yet I look at the magazine and I wonder... why? Why do we keep it going?
We need to have a channel to distribute information to the congregation. Yet we already have a weekly pew-sheet and an e-mail circulation list. The number of people who actually rely on the magazine is pretty small, if any.
It's not as if there is any prospect of it becoming a general interest magazine, which non-churchgoers would be happy to peruse (which happens in a different one of my parishes, and very successfully). I can see a way of working to build up the magazine with lots of interesting articles... but why? What would be the point? There is a general interest magazine/newspaper for the Island already, and actually I think it's pretty good. More than that, I think that as a culture we are drowning in words and we really don't need any more.
In addition, the job of being a magazine editor is pretty thankless, all things considered (and I've done it before, so I know what I'm talking about). If there was a proper budgeting of the enterprise - that is, one which included the cost of the labour involved to produce it - I have no doubt that it would be shown that the magazine runs at a significant loss.
So I wonder... why? What's the point? Why don't we just let the natural processes take their course and allow that particular expression of church communication to rest in peace?
And then I think: what's the difference between church magazines and church as such?