April: Farewell

Being at the helm of one of Australia’s premier and award-winning religious publications for two decades has been a privilege, a joy and a great deal of hard work.

Under my direction as editor and Stephen Webb’s as deputy editor, the Insights team has created around 220 great issues of Insights on time every time, provoking interest, encouraging broad conversation and earning revenue to sustain the magazine’s printing, distribution and a portion of staff time.

We’re proud of this fantastic record — and trust that you are too.

Uniting Creative’s dynamic and devoted team has done much, much more than this for the UnitingChurch in New South Wales and the ACT.

This has included:

Designing a vast array of publications and websites, targeting media involvement, marketing Living is Giving (raising around $2 million each year), developing advertising and public relations campaigns, taking photographs and other footage, running drought appeals and bushfire appeals, mentoring Uniting Church journalists around Australia in best practice journalism, managing media reporting for Assembly and Synod meetings and helping the church through a number of painful issues, including sexuality.

Recent decisions about the future of communications in this Synod mean that editorial and administration staff have been made redundant and, sadly, there will not be another issue of Insights produced by Uniting Creative.

So, it’s time for us to say goodbye and thank you.

What will we miss?

The splendid panorama of covers and themes and working out how big ideas can connect with ordinary people living out their faith in service to Christ.

Friendly church members and clients sauntering through our offices. Letters that show how much people care about their faith, the church, ecumenism and theology. Reporting locally and internationally about the work of Christian churches and other religions.

The hundreds of volunteers who have contributed articles, book reviews, reflections and helpful advice.

Working with each Moderator to target his or her media presence.

The warm, intelligent people that have been our colleagues and peers. The trust you have given us.

What should you ask for regarding communication in the Synod?

Christian communication is more than words on a page and it should be. There are gospel principles at stake.

These revolve around relationships and involve justice, egalitarianism and diversity.

There are people whose rights need airing, there are issues the church needs to raise when mainstream media doesn’t, there is transparency we should model and there are principles around freedom of the press that we should maintain.

Do fight for these, wherever you can. They are invaluable in proving that this organisation lives by the values it espouses and is working to create a just and participatory society rather than one that privileges the powerful and rich.

What are we looking forward to?

Fresh challenges, new opportunities and time to work on our own creative projects.

Reflective space to hear the “still small voice” about where we should venture next.

A team celebration where we can truly honour the work that we have done and the way we have given our very best to the UnitingChurch.

To give you an inkling of what I mean here: I have worked in UnitingChurch communications for 23-and-a-half years (I spent three-and-a-half years with the Uniting Church Assembly before working for the Synod).

Stephen Webb has been deputy editor of Insights and media officer for the Synod for 20 years, Adrian Drayton has been involved in producing Insights and as an advertising officer/creative coordinator/designer for 18 years and Lyndal Irons has worked firstly as an administrator, then as journalist and photographer for nine years.

A host of other fantastic staff members may have served for less time but have done so no less passionately and Stephen and I are truly grateful to them all. The current team will enjoy celebrating our achievements without the pressure of continuous deadlines or sudden media crises/management issues barking at our heels!

What do we wish for you?

Our blessings are with you as the Synod charts the difficult territory ahead.

These are not easy times in the UnitingChurch and tough decisions are being made in all of its councils.

May the love of God and the peace of Christ be with you as you search prayerfully, generously and humbly for ways to work for the common good.

Marjorie Lewis-Jones, Editor — and on behalf of the Uniting Creative team

PS: Marjorie blogs about writers, books and reading at www.abiggerbrighterworld.com and Stephen blogs at www.sacredturf.com about religion and soccer. Please vote for A Bigger Brighter World in the Best Australian Blog Competition 2013 (it’s the blue button above the RSS feed at the right).

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2 thoughts on “April: Farewell”

  1. “Recent decisions about the future of communications in this Synod mean that editorial and administration staff have been made redundant and, sadly, there will not be another issue of Insights produced by Uniting Creative.”
    Why?
    You have probably been the best face of the Uniting Church, not only in NSW but recognised Australia wide.
    I feel bitterly disappointed that you have all been sacked and fail to see the wisdom of this appalling decision.
    I can only congratulate you all for a job so faithfully well done for so long. I wish you all the best of the best in your continuing journeys.

  2. I learned today that the NSW Communications team has been made redundant. I am shocked, and will seek to learn more about what has in formed this decision. At this point I simply want to say two things. Firstly, I have enjoyed meeting and working with you at various points over the years. I have valued your highly professional approach to your work and the standard of your journalism. Second, I have greatly valued Insights as a publication and enjoyed reading a hard copy when I have had access to it, and regularly have read online feature articles. Although I live in another Synod,the articles have been of interest wider than the NSW/ACT Synod. Thank you for your dedication and all you have contributed to telling the stories about what is happening in the church, and challenging us all to reflect and think in fresh ways about what God is doing. Best wishes to the team as you focus now on new directions.

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