This Article was first published in May of 2021
Worship, Music & Ministry in Print Through the Years
By Joan Pritchard, Publications Coordinator
As we say good-bye to the print version of this journal and transition to the digital format, I thought it would be appropriate to look back at 22 years of printing Worship, Music & Ministry.
It began as a goal of the founding members of UCCMA. Jane Wilmot was the first editor and it fell to me to name the publication, create its look and feel, design the layout, and arrange for printing and mailing. I used a photo of the pulpit at the First Church of Christ in Farmington, Connecticut, built in 1771, for the cover design. I hand-lettered the title, chose the font – Garamond – and laid out the articles that Jane had gathered. The board of directors wanted a quality-looking journal, and so I chose a heavy cream-colored paper stock for the inside pages and a heavier cream paper printed in dusty blue for the cover. The first issue was published in February 1999.
Six issues later, in 2001, the first mailing labels appear. Prior to that, though I don’t remember this, we must have mailed each copy first class in an envelope, which would have been labor intensive. With a growing membership, that became too cumbersome and I went to the secretary of state’s office to obtain a copy of our incorporation certificate so that I could apply for nonprofit, bulk mail rates at the post office – a first for me.
In 1999, the tenth year of publishing, we unveiled a new look, including a new logo and a new journal cover created by a professional designer. The sleek, minimalist design proved to be much more inclusive and durable than the old New England church. The paper inside was a shiny white and the cover used a thicker matte white stock. I gamely tried to find a family of fonts to complement the cover and succeeded somewhat. Also debuting at that time was our new editor, Harold Stover.
By then, changes in technology made printing photos easier. And the wide use of word processing programs meant that authors were submitting longer articles with more illustrations and pictures. Peter Stickney became the editor in 2012 and brought with him a prodigious ability to generate volumes of material including a photo for every author’s bio. Precious white space disappeared as every spot on the page was crammed with text and graphics.
Our current editor, Eric Dundore, took over in 2019. He proposed having themed issues in the summertime that include a specially designed cover. So far, two covers have reflected his idea – the summer 2020 issue about social justice in worship and the cover of this issue.
The impetus for going digital was a lovely article about dance submitted a year ago that caused me to question the wisdom of continuing in print. The article was well written, carefully formatted, studded with gorgeous photos of dancers in costume performing their art, and ready to read. It was heartbreaking to tear apart that entire article so that I could rebuild it in our three-column format and figure out how to fit in photos now turned into flat, unexciting, black and white versions. A lightbulb went off and I asked the board to consider taking the journal online where beauty has a better chance to thrive.
Now the final printed edition has arrived. In looking back at this 22-year-long trail of journals, I find it remarkable that they have all been conceived, written, designed and produced by volunteers who have devoted so much time to this publication. We, as an organization, are grateful to all of the writers who have freely contributed so much of their time and expertise. And I am truly grateful for the editors who were all very open to my meddling with their creations and with whom I enjoyed a close working relationship. They do the truly difficult work.
As the journal goes online and I bow out, I am reassured that it will be easily read on tablets, laptops and cellphones and that all of us will continue to create more inspiring worship, perform more varied music, discover new art forms, and further the ministry of the church in a digital future.
P.S. An interesting fact – throughout the entire run of Worship, Music and Ministry, a copy has been mailed to the archivist at the United Church of Christ headquarters in Cleveland. Every issue is on file for future reference. ■
Joan Pritchard has designed and produced the printed journal for UCCMA as well as brochures, postcards and other printed items. She is self-taught and thanks her husband for teaching her how to use a computer.
LOOKING BACK – 30 YRS.
The first 22 years of Worship, Music & Ministry in print.