This month we reach the 800th edition of News and Views. Wow! By my reckoning this equates to something like 70 years of faithful work by many. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the why, who and how people have done this.
Why: As a family of God’s people we are naturally interested in the life events that bring joy, sadness, anxiety and encouragement to each other. Today we would call that being ‘Closer’ to one another. It is not being intrusive to what is rightfully private but by invitation standing with those who wish to share their situation with their church family. News & Views has been, as long as I can remember (and I can remember a lot less than 70 years, by the way) one of the effective ways of sharing this information with people who wish to be part of the life of BSBC. One wonders just how much prayer has been stimulated by the reading of News & Views over these 70 years.
Additionally, News & Views has given BSBC Ministers the opportunity to bring a word to the church. Perhaps of instruction, encouragement or more visionary about the future direction of the church.
Who: This is where I can come unstuck because I may overlook a key role in the production of News & Views. Let me list some that come to mind:
- Information Providers: that would include ministers’ word, pastoral, church service information, church activities/events, articles of interest, and more
- Editor: deciding on the appropriateness of submitted information and prioritising it
- Copy preparation: laying out the information to best fit the available pages
- Printing: producing the required number of copies
- Folding: an obvious task but still needing to be done and increases with the growth in size of News & Views
- Distribution: not just making available to the Stewards to give out each Sunday but enveloping, addressing and mailing out to those, often BSBC Members, who wish to receive News & Views but are not local
How: This will have changed considerably since Issue No 1! The channels through which information for publication arrives are now so numerous. All need checking and verifying for accuracy before proceeding.
Remember, News & Views first appeared at around the time the National Health Service came into being and we did not have computers on our desks or laps, neither did we have advanced-feature photocopiers. In all probability News & Views was typed as a draft for editorial checking, then re-typed creating a stencil for use in a Gestetner duplicating machine. Notoriously messy and unreliable machines. I cannot be sure that this method was used by BSBC but they were commonly used by churches, schools and other small organisations. As for distribution, computing and email have transformed this part of the whole process. News & Views can be broadcast to hundreds of people in seconds at the press of a button, or placed on a website which makes it available to about 8 billion people! While a tremendous advantage it does add to the pressure to get the content right as it could mis-inform all those people!
So, technically, we have come a long way. But the ‘Why’ has not changed at all. Reflect a moment…
Jesus has not changed. ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.’ – Hebrews 13:8, NLT
Jesus’ command to us has not changed. ‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ –John 13:35, NLT
We are witnesses to the world of the unchanging Jesus Christ by our interest in each other, love outwardly expressed in so many acts of thoughtfulness and kindness and our desire to faithfully lift those in need in prayer. May News & Views, or its successor should there be one, continue to champion the ‘Why’.
Finally, we owe a debt of thanks to all who have been involved in producing News & Views in the past and to those who currently do that for us. May they know our appreciation and receive our full cooperation as they serve us in this way.
Martin Gill (Elder)