British Newspaper with long tradition: Baptist Times to cease publication
D i d c o t – After 156 years, the Baptist Times, one of the oldest Christian Newspapers in Great Britain, will cease to appear at the end of this year, announced Bill Johnston, chairman of the board of directors. The determining factors for this decision are financial conditions and decreasing circulation. Sinking profits brought increasing reliance on subsidies from the British Baptist Union, which has decided to end their subsidies in 2012, according to Johnston. At the height of their success in the 1970’s, the Baptist Times enjoyed a weekly circulation of about 30,000; circulation is now about 4,500, including about 300 online subscribers. Jonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the British Baptist Union, paid tribute to the paper, saying, “The Baptist Times has occupied a huge place in the life of our union and its passing will be a matter of sadness to thousands of people.” The paper was also highly valued among ecumenical and international partners.
Editor in chief, Mark Woods, is thankful for the “great honor” of being allowed to work for the Baptist Times: “However, we have not been immune to the commercial pressures on newspapers in general or to the effect of wider issues in church life,” he said. “We accept our closure with sadness, but appreciate the care given to the decision and the pastoral care shown to the staff.” In the spring, the communications department of the Baptist Union will launch a new web-site with news, commentaries and other information. A special issue will appear in January, in which the history and the contribution of the paper are to be recognized. The Baptist Union includes nearly 2,000 churches with about 135,000 members.