United Methodist ‘Vision’ now online only

I’ve written some recently about pressures facing the newspaper industry and my transition from a full-time religion reporter to general assignments.

Interestingly (at least to me), the longtime newspaper of the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church has just announced that it is suspending publication and moving entirely to the Web.

This is significant because so many dioceses and conferences have depended for so long on their weekly or monthly newspapers to get the word out. The United Methodist Church, at least in New York, gets virtually no coverage in the mainstream media (except from me, of course).

So what does it mean that “The Vision” is going online?

Certainly, a large proportion of United Methodists in New York are seniors. Many of them, you have to figure, are online at this point. But some are not. They will lose The Vision.

I should mention, though, that the online Vision is available in a large-type version for “pastors to download and print for their parishioners who have a harder time reading the paper.”

Good thinking, there.

Religious denominations have to become more tech-savvy if they are going to connect with younger folks. We all know that mainline Protestant denominations, in general, are struggling to do so in New York.

The Sept. 18 version of the online Vision, in fact, includes an article about getting the word out to youth. It says: “I’m here to confirm what you already suspect: kids don’t check their email. To them, email is old technology, only good for formal communications with teachers, bosses, and other adults. For high schoolers, it’s all about texting and Facebook.”

True. It’s probably a good sign that United Methodists realize this kind of stuff.

Otherwise, the online Vision has the same sort of content as you’ve seen in many religious publications: a calendar page, a piece about Bishop Jeremiah Park running to raise awareness for a charity, a couple of shorts about of church anniversaries, and notices of several retreats, including one to Oberammergau, Germany, for the famous Passion Play.

There’s a box about three upcoming lunches on Long Island to talk about the Great Immigration Debate. I hope The Vision reports on what people have to say.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.