If you’ve not picked up a copy of the Messenger for a while, don’t be surprised, because it’s not been printed since the end of March 2020. But as we begin 2021 this is about to change.
Due to the vision of the British Union Conference (BUC) field leaders and their respective administrative teams, Messenger will return to print and be sent by direct mail to the homes of all BUC members residing in the UK and Ireland from this month. The project is driven by a single purpose – to stay connected in this extraordinary time. It is estimated that over 5,000 members are not currently digitally connected – meaning they are seriously cut off from church life during this time. This means taking the magazine to a new level of service to the members we serve, and ensuring that members receive it during this COVID-19 lockdown time.
The vision and plan
Publication of Messenger will change from a fortnightly to a monthly schedule, usually arriving by both postal and digital mail on the fourth Friday of each month, or the fifth Friday for the months of January, April and July.
Each edition will contain 24 pages of features and articles to inform, educate and inspire. Our hope is that by the time the reader has finished reading each edition, not only will confidence in the mission and message of the church have increased, but also a higher level of commitment and service for Christ and His kingdom will result.
New features for each edition in 2021 include:
· The big interview with someone who’s moving & shaking
· The Adventist heritage story with George Knight
· Youth Matters – the centre spread of each edition
· At a glance – a religious news round-up
· Bible questions answered by a Newbold lecturer
From news to nurture
From its inception Messenger has provided both news and nurture. The arrival of BUC News resulted in it becoming the primary BUC news service. When it comes to the speed of news delivery in our context, digital and print media cannot compete with each other, and nor should they. Rather, they complement each other. BUC News is like the Gospel of Mark (deliver the news quickly); Messenger is like the Gospel of John (reflect and then write).
Direct magazine mail
Our plan from January to April is to print and distribute 10,000 Messengercopies, along with the monthly edition of Adventist World. In addition, each envelope will also contain a catch-up edition of Focus – prepared last year, but yet to be printed.
The BUC field leaders and their respect administrations have agreed to run this plan as an experiment – given the circumstances we are all currently facing. It is likely that over the coming months there will be a gradual but significant reduction in the number of print copies, with an increase in digital subscription. Driving this is cost and need. There is no intent to supply members who do not want or need a print copy. The subscription plan looks like this:
1. With the first, second, and third distribution of the print edition, enclosed in the envelope will be an invitation card to ‘opt in’for continued postal delivery of Messenger. The reader is invited to return the card through the post, or reply via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. On the same card there is an option for members to ‘opt in’ to the electronic version only.
3. If the family or individual living at a particular home address has not informed us of their wish to ‘opt in’ by the time we are ready to distribute the fourth edition (April), their address will be taken off the list.
4. As we seek to provide a new direct mail service, we are commencing a campaign to enlist electronic sign-up to the Messenger and Messenger Extra through BUC News and the multiple digital platforms around the Union.
5. To ensure the same level of service Messenger provides for the BUC, I am intending to make Messenger Extra an online newsletter, similar in style to BUC and TED News, but different in content. It will be published digitally two weeks prior to members receiving the full print or digital edition.
I trust that this plan provides clarity on the way forward to connect and even re-connect with the members we serve.
Just a reminder that the new specific email address for all Messenger subscription services (both print and digital) in 2021 is:
Here’s a hope and a prayer that Messenger willhelp support us on our spiritual journey, and help us keep connected with each other this year.