Monday, May 13, 2013

Newark Central "Knapsack" 5-14-13

Newark Central – Notes from my Knapsack 5-14-13


To print or not to print, that's the question


Jesus says in Matthew 13:52 "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."


On the other hand, the Board of Governors of the US Postal Service just said to the Postmaster General that they want him "to evaluate further options to increase revenue, including an exigent rate increase to raise revenues across current Postal Service product categories and products not currently covering their costs."


That would include bulk mail like our print newsletters, which are estimated to need at least a 30% rate increase just to cover the actual cost of processing and delivery.


Now, even if just that happened, our costs per newsletter for postage would still be half of what it would cost to put a First Class stamp on them. But you add on the increasing delays, and generally erratic delivery times for Second Class/Bulk mail . . . but talk among direct mail professionals is that the threshold for those rates is likely to go up from the current 200 piece minimum to something like 500, or more. We put out about 220.


I'm coming up on my one year anniversary of serving you in pastoral and administrative leadership, and probably no subject, no change or adjustment in congregational life has gotten me more questions, more concern, and yes, more anger than the decision I made to shift to every other week print newsletters. We've been accustomed to a weekly newsletter for many years.


"The Newark Christian" began 74 years ago as a monthly, and as we head for a diamond jubilee commemoration in 2014, it has been a key part of our life as a faith community, right along with the building at Mt. Vernon Rd. & Rugg Ave. and our Cedar Run Lodge. We use it to communicate with each other as much or more than the telephone.


Of course, before 1939 we didn't have a newsletter. But the cost of technology and staff to produce such a thing, along with cheap postal rates, made it feasible, and it has been incredibly useful.


Now we spend (with new USPS regulations) about eight cents per piece to create (not counting staff time) and moving past twenty cents to mail. Which arrives anywhere from the next day (as it used to be mostly for most addresses) to two weeks later for many of us just a few miles away.


And then there's e-mail. Not everyone uses it, but many do. It arrives pretty much when the office hits "send." In the face of that technology, our "peers" in size and type of church around the area either have stopped mailing newsletters, or have monthly only, with few "snail" mailed and those First Class.


So as your pastor, I'm thinking about all of this, and about Mt. 13:52. We will still be mailing some, of something, in 2014, of that much I'm sure. And Lisa and I still want your e-mail if you don't get this already on your computer!


In grace and peace, Pastor Jeff

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