Upheld By Prayer

One of the first things people ask me about the closing of the Record is: “What’s the reaction out there?”

You can read some of the reaction from readers on the pages that follow, but many other readers, friends and colleagues in religion publishing who read the magazine have sent me short private emails.

Their notes have expressed disappointment in the decision but also thanks for the work we have done and encouragement about the future.

Despite the news stories we published about the decision to close the magazine, some people remained unconvinced—perhaps it’s simply wishful thinking—and thought the board’s decision was precipitous.

Let me assure you, nothing about this decision was precipitous. Both staff and directors have been looking at this situation for a long time—several years in fact—trying to find different solutions. Let’s just say that not only did we leave no stones unturned, we went looking for hidden stones to look beneath.

As it happens, in one of those coincidences of life, the same week the Record announced that the December issue would be our last was also the week that Rogers, the media giant owners of the Toronto Blue Jays, announced it is going digital with many of its magazines. Maclean’s will go from a weekly to a monthly in print, and Chatelaine and Today’s Parent will go from monthlies to six times a year.

Unfortunately, going digital was never a solution for the Record. We don’t generate the kind of advertising revenue that Rogers does. That’s what pays employees’ salaries at the big commercial publishers.

At the Record, we have relied on a combination of subscription revenue, fundraising and advertising. We were hoping we could derive more revenue from fundraising, but we just didn’t have the time needed to make that transition.

One of the other questions I have been frequently asked is whether we were able to look after staff properly. This was also one of the board’s biggest concerns. I am happy to say that the corporation has been able to meet its legal obligations to staff, guided by one of the best law firms specializing in charities, since there are many laws that come into play.

So many people have also said they have been putting us, the handful of individuals who put out the magazine and run the business side of it, in their prayers. And to them, we are all so grateful.

Much like the death of a loved one, the death of a magazine is painful to those who have worked so hard on it or on its behalf for so long. So to be upheld by the prayers of the community we have tried to serve over the years is an amazing gift.

Many of you have also made warm compliments about the content and look of the Record. Even as congregations have gone off the Every Home Plan for financial reasons, that news was accompanied by thanks for the quality of the magazine.

And for that, we say “thank you.”


About David Harris

David Harris is the publisher and editor of the Presbyterian Record.