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'Bringing the gospel into homes': Archbishop pays tribute to church magazine service on 25th anniversary

by Donna Birrell

The Archbishop of York has praised the work of church magazine editors, saying they play a vital role in helping churches reach out into their local communities.

Most Rev Stephen Cottrell was marking the 25th anniversary of the Parish Pump, which provides news, features and illustrations to churches and Christians around the world.

It's published around 3,000 editions every month since its launch at the Christian Resources Exhibition in 1999. The online resource regularly reaches many tens of thousands of readers in the UK and overseas.

The Parish Pump, which is a subscription service, has been edited for the last quarter of a century by journalist Anne Coomes at her home near Macclesfield.

She said: “It has been a real labour of love to edit and produce Parish Pump over all those years. I have a wonderful group of contributors who write on a wide range of subjects, and we receive so many grateful messages from magazine editors.

“I have seen Parish Pump as a key part of my vocation to serve the Church. These magazines may be the only Christian literature that many people ever see, and so they are a wonderful way in which local churches can communicate the gospel to their communities.”

In his message Archbishop Cottrell said, “Well-produced magazines can play a vital role in helping churches reach out into their local communities, and to bring the Christian gospel into many people’s homes. Even in a digital world, paper-based communications can help build bridges for local churches.

“I’m deeply appreciative of the effort put in by numerous church magazine editors, and of the important, creative support that Parish Pump has provided over the past 25 years. I congratulate its editor, Anne Coomes, on her commitment to first-class communications through those years.”

The increase in online communications and the difficulty in recruiting editors has led many churches to stop producing a printed magazine.

The number of Parish Pump’s subscribers now stands at nearly 1,400.

Coomes, who co-founded and owns Parish Pump said: “Each month, I receive news of magazines closing down – but also of new ones opening up. Overall, the trend is downwards, and that’s a shame as not everyone is able to go online. Magazines can reach people who would never search out a church website.

“The suspension of printed magazines during Covid was very difficult for many churches and editors. Many began posting their magazine online and that trend has continued.”

As well as church news, Parish Pump contains prayers and features such as puzzles, quizzes, cartoons and “Smile Lines”, a collection of jokes and humorous readings.


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