Publisher’s Page: As times change…
Welcome to the September/October 2017 issue of Interpreter. At United Methodist Communications, we refer to Interpreter as the "official program journal of The United Methodist Church." However, whether you are holding the print version in your hands or perusing the digital version online, what you have is a collection of stories – stories of what we as United Methodists are doing throughout the world to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
I remember picking up copies of Interpreter over the years, always being struck by how people in churches like mine were living out their faith and reaching out to the world through a variety of ministries. It was in reading Interpreter that I really began to appreciate the unique connectional nature of our denomination. As I've taken more active roles in church leadership, I have appreciated how Interpreter served as a tool to keep me up-to-date on the relevant issues of the Church.
When Interpreter began publishing in 1969, the print magazine was the primary way that United Methodists were kept apprised of initiatives and programs within the denomination. Forty-eight years later, 21st century technology provides church members with multiple ways to receive information, including emails, social media and websites. This shift in the way people consume information has resulted in a decrease in Interpreter readership over the years.
In July, United Methodist Communications announced that Interpreter, after 48 years, will cease publication following the November/December 2017 issue. The expense of publishing a print magazine isn't the best use of denominational resources without a larger base of subscribers. Also, much of the magazine's content is available through a variety of communications channels, including the denomination's website, UMC.org. Many of our Interpreter readers also subscribe to other digital publications produced by United Methodist Communications, including United Methodist Now, our member e-newsletter.
As we enter the home stretch for Interpreter, I would be remiss not to give a shout out to the Rev. Kathy Noble, long-time Interpreter editor. Kathy's editorial expertise and deep commitment to excellence are much appreciated. As she moves into a new role at United Methodist Communications, her experience and insights will help guide us to consider our audiences' ongoing needs and preferences, as well as determine the best and most effective way to serve those needs.
For now, enjoy the current issue, which includes stories on practicing faith in the workplace. You'll find profiles of a number of people who feel called to their occupation, including an attorney/mediator, a construction worker and a hairstylist. There is an article about World Communion Sunday and, in recognition of its 500th anniversary, an article about the Reformation and its relationship to United Methodists.
Interpreter has served the denomination in the role it has played to communicate the story of The United Methodist Church. As we move into the next era of utilizing new and developing communication technologies, we look forward with excitement to sharing our stories across the globe in exciting, relevant ways that allow even deeper content and interactive tools.
Dan Krause is general secretary of United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, and publisher of Interpreter.