Where does CC go from here?

The Symposium fueled some creative discussions around the future of this small, award-winning paper. Attendees batted around the implications of a new digital landscape: how might CC use the internet to expand its reach? Many were ambivalent about going completely online but saw the creative potential. Some people turned towards their own electronic power, committing to posting more CC columns on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

This promotional creativity points to the question of audience. Who should CC aspire to have as future readers? Some attendees see the readership needing to expand beyond Christian Reformed, and even Reformed circles. Most, however, simultaneously championed the particularly Reformed character of the newspaper. We need to creatively reflect on how to keep the heart of the paper alive while seeking to attract a wider readership. Are there strategic partnerships we can form with other papers or organizations that will benefit both institutions?

CC has a loyal older readership that has carried it through the decades, and this reflects the demographics of many Reformed churches and other “kingdom institutions.” How can we empower a younger crowd of emerging Reformed leaders who will own and re-shape this paper for a new generation? One thing all agreed: the future must include people from outside Ontario – reflective Christians from coast to coast who value Christian news and stories from a full-orbed kingdom perspective.

CC needs to raise subscriptions but also funds. As a registered charity, donations give us a big boost: can we find support for a marketing/fundraising manager to take us forward? Additionally, we need to challenge our “second-hand” readers, who enjoy the paper by “recycling” someone else’s bi-weekly CC issues: you’re saving paper, but you’re not saving the paper! Help our dedicated, inventive staff carry on a legacy of passionate Christian culture-making!

Former CC writers championed the vision of transforming dominant Canadian culture. In these more post-Christian times, however, CC writers may call for a slight shift of focus: nurturing a faithful, creative subculture. Not as a ghetto, but as a band of culture-makers seeking to sustain life-giving Christian institutions in a decidedly pluralistic culture for the sake of the common good.

What did you think of the Symposium?

Rachel Baarda (Social Media Editor)
“The Christian Courier conference was a great opportunity to meet the faces behind Christian Courier – the columnists, writers, board members and past editors. I really appreciated Peter Schuurman’s presentation on the history of Christian Courier. It showed that God has sustained the paper even through difficult times. The time of sharing ideas and brainstorming also generated a lot of creative ideas for the newspaper’s future!”

John Tamming (Writer)
“‘Do not worry,’ Hemingway counseled a struggling writer. ‘All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest that you know.’ We came together to be better writers and to keep the Reformed conversation going. We were not disappointed.

James Dekker opened up the sessions with a poignant rendering of Paul’s second letter to Timothy, whose expressed needs included a Christian friendship and the delivery of his scrolls and books. Now there is a verse or two to warm any columnist’s heart. Journalist Thomas Froese, fresh from Uganda and Yemen, encouraged us to write not only with eloquence and wit, but also with passion, leaving readers a little more alive, a little wiser, a little more beautiful. In the roundtables, Sonya VanderVeen Feddema encouraged the group to remember that good, non-moralistic writing deals with how things are, not with how they should be. But for me, the personal highlight was a lively discussion or two with one particular woman, May Drost (now a Christian Courier contributor, 38 years ago my London High School English teacher), whose red markings and low marks I still recalled.

Dinner and Chianti concluded the day, with a buzz of voices. Many were young. All were vibrant and opinionated. Christian Courier remains a fragile craft, but this vessel appears to still have some nautical miles left in it. Spread the news.”

Syl Gerritsma (Board Member)
“This was an inspiring symposium for people passionate about influencing culture for Christ.

Peter Schuurman’s review of God’s faithfulness through 70 years of CC’s often rocky history helps to motivate us as we are blessed by the tradition and motivated to continue.

The enthusiasm and ideas drawn out by Michael Buma bolster our excitement about the future. Our insightful, dedicated and enthusiastic staff naturally invites our support. A visionary donor makes this financially possible. The presence of so many others reminds us that we are a community of God’s people.

Rose der Nederlanden (Circulation)
“Reading Christian Courier is like having a coffee with a friend and hearing what they are thinking. The symposium was great because we could actually meet face to face with some people we had never met before.”

Tom Smith (Writer)
“What a wonderfully engaging and uplifting day I was able to enjoy at the Symposium! It was quite energizing to be in a room with so many incredibly smart and gifted servants of our Lord, all of whom work diligently to tell their stories with faithfulness. I was especially struck by the presentation on Christian Courier’s 70-year-long history. Imagining myself and my tiny input here gathered along with truly faith-shaping writing from other contributors was humbling and affirming. It was a blessing to be able to put faces to names and experience some fellowship with all the various folks who put together CC. The evocative bird adorning the paper’s masthead appears mid-flight. And I’m looking forward to seeing the heights to which Christian Courier can soar!”

– Compiled by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema

  • Peter is Executive Director of Global Scholars Canada, a transnational guild of Christian scholars. He preaches, teaches and writes – having written columns, editorials, news and features for CC since 1997. His book The Subversive Evangelical: The Ironic Charisma of an Irreligious Megachurch (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019) is an ethnographic journey into the life of a megachurch and its “irreligious” charismatic leader. He loves stories that cross boundaries while maintaining integrity.

You just read something for free.

But it didn’t appear out of thin air. Writers, editors and designers at Christian Courier worked behind the scenes to bring hope-filled, faith-based journalism to you.

As an independent publication, we simply cannot produce award-winning, Christ-centred material without support from readers like you. And we are truly grateful for any amount you can give!

CC is a registered charity, which is good news for you! Every contribution ($10+) is tax-deductible.

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