Editorial: Good Olds and Good News
by Kevin Sims
Good Olds and Good News
IF you've already looked at the year planner on the back cover of this issue you'll have seen that 2009 marks the 125th anniversary of All the World. More will be made of this in the October-December issue, which is the one nearest the magazine's 'birthday' in November.
Editing a 125-year-old magazine brings with it some particular concerns. There's a high standard to be maintained and I have to be careful to keep things relevant for today's readership.
Should I reflect on 'past glories' or is being bang up to date the most important thing? How do you decide when the way things have always been done stops being the best way and starts being a barrier to the fresh and new?
Of course, these questions aren't only relevant to All the World, they're relevant to The Salvation Army as a whole. The Army has a wonderful heritage and reputation but it can be a double-edged sword. Sometimes, what the public thinks of The Salvation Army is not necessarily the whole truth.
In the USA, for instance, the Army is 'America's favourite charity' but relatively unknown as a church. In the UK, many people associate the movement with brass bands and soup runs but can easily dismiss its relevance in the 21st century.
The same gap between perception and reality happens right around the world and to an extent it's down to publications like All the World to help redress the balance.
This issue, for instance, is so packed with new and fresh things I'm tempted to suggest it's kept in a fridge! The work in Kuwait only started in 2008 but is growing steadily. In Brazil, a soldier moving to a shanty town led to the Army becoming a vital part of the community. In Myanmar, emergency services teams are moving into new areas to provide materials for housing.
In all these cases the Army is fulfilling its mission statement to 'preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination', and it's doing it through tried and tested methods as well as new and innovative schemes.
As All the World celebrates its 125th anniversary the editorial team will try to work along similar lines, keeping that which works and bringing in new ideas, some of which may not work and will disappear as quickly as they arrive! I encourage you, the reader, to play your part in this. What do you like? What do you want changed? What can we bring on board to make All the World more useful to you the reader and to the building of God's Kingdom?
Whatever changes are made, whether subtle tweaks or a complete overhaul, the message will remain the same. I hope All the World will keep showing how God is using The Salvation Army to change people's lives for another 125 years - and beyond!
Kevin Sims is the editor of All the World