Two years ago when inspires magazine was relaunched, the Church’s Information & Communication (I&C) Board set about producing a publication that exemplified the reflective and inspirational aspects of the Scottish Episcopal Church – a magazine worthy of its name.
The relaunch in 2015 marked the magazine’s 10th anniversary and initiated a two year review period in which to assess the viability of inspires magazine as a print production and communication tool.
Having reached the end of the two year review period, the I&C Board considered a cost/benefit analysis of the magazine. It was with great sadness, but with a sense of realism, that the board agreed that it had, finally, reached the point at which inspires was no longer viable as a print publication.
In making its decision the I&C board considered several options but ultimately agreed that it was a head versus heart decision. The heart is tied to inspires as it exists but the head said it is neither sustainable nor the best use of the Church’s time and money in a missional sense, not least in a church of limited resources.
It should be noted, though, that alongside this sadness things do not stand still. The launch of an inspires-style website where content can be brought together more easily and more democratically will allow the public information flow still to happen but also encourage comment and dialogue. The board also discussed possibilities of a shorter (maximum eight A4 pages), less glossy free printed overview of events and comments upon the life of the church to be disseminated to dioceses and charges perhaps two or three times a year. Other options are also being looked at.
We are all very saddened by this decision but we feel that present reality and changing communications culture has brought us inevitably to this point. We are aware of the deficit to those who have limited or no Internet access. However, we cannot be all things to all people and unless conditions change significantly relating to resourcing we at times have to make the hard decisions.
The plan is to produce one final inspires this year, and use this as an introduction to the future online facility. It is hoped that this will be published in early May. We will be contacting current subscribers to the magazine regarding all of this.
The Rev Chris Mayo, Convener, Information & Communication Board