Editors of nine major Protestant journals will meet in Philadelphia September 30 as part of a significant ecumenical turn in the church press.

So far, the journals have traded advance information on upcoming articles, have shared articles when others are interested, and have joined to commission several articles. Plans are in the hopper to form inter-staff teams for special reporting assignments.

Their informal cooperative venture, called Interchurch Features, is the brainchild of Robert Cadigan, veteran editor of America’s biggest denominational magazine, Presbyterian Life (United Presbyterian Church).

The development is a natural result of the ecumenical movement and the Consultation on Church Union. The group consists of the general-circulation magazines of the COCU denominations, minus those of the two Negro bodies, which have much smaller budgets, plus the Lutheran (Lutheran Church in America) and the United Church Observer (United Church of Canada). Presbyterian Survey was added last spring after the Presbyterian Church U. S. (Southern) joined COCU.

Cooperation is also a way the leaders can counter the lethargy in denominational journalism. Many church journals are just managing to hold their own in circulation and advertising lineage. Some are slipping noticeably.

Interchurch Features Circulation

“It’s because we’re raising tough issues, which get people irritated,” says the Episcopalian’s Henry McCorkle. But he points out another problem: the big, rich secular magazines are increasingly getting into religion and competing with church journals. They are pouring money into major feature stories on Christianity and moral issues, and so the average church member says, “I saw an article by so-and-so in the Saturday Evening ...

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