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Reform Magazine | November 25, 2020

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Editorial: Keep the stories coming

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I have been poring over old copies of Reform for a book I’m writing, and was struck by John Gregory’s editorial from the third issue, in January 1973. What has changed, and what hasn’t!

Good news first: it looks as if enough of you are placing firm orders for Reform for its short-term future to be guaranteed. Thanks. I say ‘short-term future’ deliberately because I doubt whether a magazine should expect to see further ahead than that.

This brings him on to the bad news:

It seems that some of you were hoping to like the whole magazine. They very idea is so tempting that I have to steel myself against it. If everyone likes at least part of the thing I’ll be pleased.

But what parts should it have for them to choose from? Should there be news and comments about secular happenings at home and abroad? Somebody picked up the last issue and said he was half way through it before he realised it was a church publication. The embarrassing thing was I took this as a compliment when he meant it critically.

The thorniest problem of all, says John, is local church news. People want to see their own church’s anniversaries and other milestones mentioned, but they are not of equal interest to people further afield. Such things happen far too often to cover them all, and to yield to a few would make the news hopelessly unfair. And yet conversely, he says, Reform misses genuinely newsworthy stories because he only hears about them too late, if at all. ‘We seem to be bad at spotting our own newsworthiness.’ John says that he welcomes people writing to him about their local church – especially if they send photos – but it has to be about what the church is doing.

I keep getting a nightmare in which God wants to know how his love has affected mankind and picks up a church paper to find out. Then he cancels his subscription; and we need it.

Forty-eight years on, Reform is as hungry as ever for those local stories. In this issue, you will read about what’s happening in Priesthill, Glasgow; Dursley, Gloucestershire; and Northallerton, North Yorkshire. Please keep those stories coming. We love to hear them.

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This article was published in the November 2020 edition of Reform

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