It has been made public today that the Baptist Times is to close at the end of the year (here and here). I am quite surprisingly sad about this, not least as I have subscribed for almost fifteen years (and if I want to be sulky will have a half year pre-paid subscription outstanding at that point!). I first bought the BT because my then minister told me to - it would, he told me, give me a clue about the life of the Baptist world. I have continued to subscribe through my ministerial training and on into each of my pastorates. From time to time stuff I sent in has appeared - from worship ideas to adverts to press releases to a commissioned piece on the recent Baptist Assembly in Scotland. In those fifteen years the BT has improved out of all recognition, thanks to the hard work of editor Mark Woods and his loyal team. Yet depsite that, it has continued to lose money hand over fist and it can no longer be sustained.
I cannot in all honesty say I read the BT cover to cover, but among the things I will miss are...
- The baptisms, ministerial news and ministerly dispatches
- The letters page - with its regular contributors, annoying though some of them are
- The 'outside edge' type columns
- John Rackley's column
- The book reviews
- Bits and bobs of local church news
I am sure BUGB will come up with something interesting and techy to replace the BT, and I'm sure it makes good sense. It just seems rather sad that the old rag has reached its sell-by date. Sure I've mumbled about it at times, but I hope it was the affectionate mumbling of a friend.
Farewell Baptist Times... and thank you for the years we've shared.