Choosing Door Number Two

Published February 22, 2013

This column appeared in the Feb. 2013 issue of Anglican Journal.

When my grandmother’s chronic indigestion turned out to be cancer of the pancreas, she was flabbergasted.

“How could this happen?” she asked me, sounding surprised and exasperated.

“You’re 104!” I replied. “It’s a miracle it took this long for you to develop a health problem.”

The surgeon put in a stent to make it easier for Nana to swallow, but the writing was on the wall. Apparently, despite a lifetime of robust good health, Nana was not immortal.

My sister and I took our 73-year-old Mom-Nana’s only child-to visit the minister at Bridge Street United Church. We wanted him to tell us what we could do to support Nana, who was determined to remain at home, come what may.

In those bleary-eyed days, I vaguely remember the minister spoke words of comfort. But what stayed with me was his description of the two ways that people exit this life. Some go peacefully, with acceptance, he said. The second group, he warned, leave kicking and screaming.

Nana loved her life and was not ready to die. She took Door Number Two.

As General Synod prepares to tackle the important task of understanding a new, more cost-efficient structure, we at the Journal have been told that making a case for maintaining the national newspaper is becoming more and more difficult. The word is that web-only corporate communications will be the way of the future.

But how will our print-savvy readers be served?

Even as I prepare to take up a new position outside the church, I find myself asking this important question. I think you should too.

If the restructuring of General Synod involves saying “no” to the Journal and the diocesan newspapers that are distributed with it, parishioners will be cut off from what they say is a vital communications link to the church. At a time when the church needs your support more than ever, how will you continue to feel inspired to donate?

The communications strategy for the Anglican Church of Canada needs to be carefully considered with a realistic view to the future. Well-intentioned decision-makers who think that web-only is less expensive need to educate themselves about the true costs of online publishing. Any pressure to go web-only when people in the pews are not surfing the internet for their church news makes no sense. There are other ways to trim the budget at General Synod that don’t include unraveling its communications and fundraising infrastructure.

Demand that you be kept in the loop. You are, after all, holding the purse-strings. Unlike the editor of the Anglican Journal, you have real power. Choose Door Number Two.

Kristin Jenkins is editor of the Anglican Journal. (resigned Jan 4, 2013)


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