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From The Elders – September 2023

What’s in a newsletter?

Tina Wheeler – Church Secretary

This newsletter, in more or less its current form, has been going for almost as long as St John’s has been here. Of course, to begin with, it was only on paper, and the current format shows that heritage. Indeed we still print some copies for folk who don’t have emails.
You will be aware that Brenda Sussex has been editing the Newsletter for 10 years now, and what a terrific job she has done in a rather turbulent time. We owe her a huge debt of thanks as she stands down and applies her considerable talents in other areas of church life.
Brenda will be producing the September issue and Gina Cuomo-Dannenburg has agreed to become the new Editor, her first edition will be the October Newsletter.
Now seems like a good time to consider what content is appropriate for a monthly newsletter.
Someone else to whom we owe a huge debt of thanks is Jon Henderson, who began the Weekly Bulletins as a way to keep us all in touch during the lockdown period when we were physically kept apart. Now the weekly update, mostly by email, is produced by Jackie or myself, depending on who is Duty Secretary that week.
We receive all sorts of information: prayer requests, notices of upcoming events, requests for help or donations, to name but a few. It’s an opportunity to send out the order of service for the coming Sunday, as well as to make church family announce-ments, wish our youngsters happy birthday, and so on.
I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but I get the impression that the period of Covid has caused many of us to not look so far ahead. Arguably that’s not a bad thing; didn’t Jesus tell us not to have a care for tomorrow? But much of the information which goes in the weekly email comes in at quite short notice (sometimes too late, but I’m not pointing any fingers). Which doesn’t give much notice if it’s an event you might want to attend.
Now I really sound like I’m griping. Honestly, I’m not! The weekly email has continued to be a brilliant way of keeping us informed about what is going on among the fellowship.
What it does mean is that sometimes the same things appear in the weekly email and the monthly newsletter. Of course if notices about events are last minute for the weekly email, there’s no chance of receiving them in time for the monthly newsletter which has a deadline in the middle of the previous month.
This all brings me to where I started. What’s in a newsletter? We have a bit more space for articles and activities for children, for example. Personally I find an overview of the month’s services very useful. There are some “official” things which we include, like agendas and minutes for church meetings. I can’t possibly comment on the opening letter in the circumstances…
So, as the summer comes to a close and we continue finding our way through the vacancy, what are we going to put in our news-letters? There are two sides to this, of course. First, and easiest, what would you like to read? Secondly, and more challenging, what would you be able to contribute? Articles? Snippets you’ve seen? Artwork, maybe?
Answers on a postcard, please!
Warm Wishes,

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