Never is the time-warp of a monthly magazine schedule more pronounced than it is in late October.
The November issue of The Missouri Methodists was sent to press October 16. For me, that means I was hard at work on this issue before Halloween, and it was completed and in the mail well before Thanksgiving.
That’s all fine if you look at the magazine as just 12 issues of United Methodists news from Missouri, that happen to come about 30 days apart. But I can’t help but think that since the magazine is monthly, it should also be somewhat seasonal. I blame it on all those thematic calendars in elementary school. I’ve refrained from making the magazine orange in October or pink in February, but I did manage to get an Advent photo on the cover of the December issue in 2013, even if I had to ask Eric Mattson to stage it months in advance.
This is a religious magazine, for goodness sake. I carry guilt knowing that as the loyal readers are going caroling and preparing for season, their Conference magazine isn’t giving Advent so much as a tip of the hat.
When I was editor of the Missouri Conference Review, usually I was able to pull off something related to Christmas in the late December issue. If we got an early snow I was all over that, because at least it made churches look kind of Christmassy. And there were the hanging of the greens and first week of Advent events I could get to just in time. But The Review published every two weeks, and had that blink-of-an-eye newspaper turnaround time of sending it to press in the morning, and having it in the mail the next day, or sometimes even the same day.
Not so with the monthly magazine. Because of how the deadlines fall, we’re just now catching up with the Festival of Sharing. And with the January issue needing to be complete by mid-December, any real Christmas coverage I do won’t be out until well after Epiphany – we will soon be coming up on Lent. By then people may not be that interested in reading about Christmas.
If I’m focused on news you can use, our Christmas issue probably needs to be out by September, maybe even August, but I’m not quite ready to martyr myself for rushing the season that much.
This issue took a lot of help. In addition to our outstanding regulars, we also have a big photography boost this time around from Doug Hill (Festival of Sharing) and Gene Baumann (Summit 2). There’s a lot going on in the Missouri Conference in the fall.
May all of our churches have an Advent season that is blessed beyond expectations this year. I’ll see you in 2016.