What does the word ‘Parish’ bring to your mind? The Parish Church, the Parish Priest, the Parish as the smallest area within the Diocese, within the Church hierarchy? Or, the Parish Council, the Parish boundaries, the smallest area within the Borough, within the Government hierarchy? And ‘Parishioners’? Those who go to Church, or those who live locally? They should, of course, bring both meanings to mind – and it is this duality, this hopefully complementary duality, that has defined my approach to editing the Parish Magazine.
It should strive to achieve a balance between being an organ of the Church and a community newspaper. It should advise and guide on matters of religion (Rector’s Reflections, Christianity versus Darwin) but it should also advise and guide on civil matters (Parish Council reports, Citizens Advice Bureau input, county matters). It should encourage debate; it should report on births, deaths and marriages; and inform us all of forthcoming events.
In a word, the Magazine should be inclusive, with space for any Parishioner (of whichever persuasion!) to air their views and to seek response from the readership. It should encourage those who do not go to Church to ‘give it a try’ by advertising the Church’s services and what is on offer, but it should also encourage Churchgoers to take part in other activities within the Parish by inviting them to a cricket match, to a firework display, to the pub for a drink.
It should also strive to be entertaining, since we humans have a tendency to laziness and do not act out of ‘duty’ all that often. Given that, what is the use of a source of guidance and advice if it is so dry or narrow that we don’t bother to read it?! Hence the quizzes, the jokes, the silly stories.
Ultimately, it should be continuously designed and monitored by the readership by making their views known to the Editor, whose job it is to provide what they want. Thus feedback is the key to success, and I take this opportunity to repeat earlier occasional requests for this feedback to continue.
Mike Cooper – Former Editor