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The United Church Observer's editor and publisher, Jocelyn Bell. (Photo: Lindsay Palmer)

'The Observer' will soon relaunch with a new name and design

Our magazine will be going through some changes, but we see blue skies ahead

By Jocelyn Bell

A poster of Amelia Earhart hangs on my wall here at the Observer office. It shows the famous pilot at age 40, with a small grin, standing awkwardly in front of a Lockheed Electra 10E. I’ve been a fan of Earhart’s ever since a grade-school project introduced me to her. I like that she was a feminist, took risks and had courage. (The fact that she was a quirky-looking redhead makes me feel a certain affinity toward her, too).

On days when I’m feeling anxious about a big decision, I’ll look up at Earhart and remind myself that she was likely nervous before hopscotching around the globe, often over vast stretches of ocean. But she climbed into the cockpit anyway.

Of course, the inspiration could fall apart when you consider her risk-taking ultimately led to her death. Earhart and her Lockheed Electra vanished in July 1937 over the Pacific Ocean, somewhere between New Guinea and Howland Island, in what would have been the longest leg of her journey.

That Earhart attempted something incredible and failed makes her no less of a role model to me. Despite the outcome, I admire her courage and tenacity. As she once said: “Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.”

Two issues from now, those of us who work on this publication are going to take a big risk. You could call it the church magazine equivalent of  flying over the Pacific with 1930s aviation technology. We are relaunching this magazine under a new name, with a refreshed design and 16 more pages (see our ad on the back cover of this issue). Our digital platforms are getting a similar makeover.

Some things won’t change. Both the magazine and website will continue to include robust coverage of United Church news and perspectives. We will also keep our Christian focus and our dedication to high-calibre journalism. And subscription prices stay the same.

The underlying motivation to this endeavour is our firm belief that values like inclusion, equality, reconciliation, care for Creation and spiritual nurture — and the stories that animate them — need to reach a wider audience. Perhaps now more than ever. So, instead of serving the members of one denomination, we’re opening our space to welcome the curious, the seekers and all those who yearn to be part of a thoughtful community of like-minded souls.

My fervent hope is that this redesign takes off, weathers whatever storms may come and lands safely on a distant shore. The goal is worth the risks involved. So try not to worry, and pray for sunny skies ahead.

This story originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of The United Church Observer with the title "Ready for takeoff."

To read more of The Observer's award-winning content, subscribe to the magazine today. 

Author's photo
Jocelyn Bell is the editor-publisher of The Observer.
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