From the Editor: Thresholds

by Beth A Richardson on February 27, 2017 · 6 comments


I first “met” Alive Now when I was in divinity school seeking a final unit of field education to complete my course requirements. I had planned to do a summer of intensive chaplaincy training but was so overwhelmed by the stories I’d heard about the program’s challenges and the application process that I was looking for an alternative. A friend at church said to me, “You’re a good writer. You should see if Mary Ruth Coffman would give you an internship over at The Upper Room.”

I called Mary Ruth, editor of Alive Now from 1974 to 1991, and she offered me a summer placement in the editorial office of Alive Now. When I arrived there, I was crossing a threshold I didn’t know would lead me to my life’s work in publishing. I discovered that I loved editorial work, the creativity of putting together words and images expressing a theme that would touch the lives of readers. I wanted, more than anything in the world, to work at Alive Now. After I graduated, I worked for two years cleaning houses and doing freelance editing for The Upper Room. A job at Alive Now finally opened up, and I became an assistant editor.

I’ve worked in one way or another with Alive Now for my entire career at The Upper Room, and now, I face — we all face — a new threshold together. Alive Now’s publication is ending with this issue. We are being called to consider that God is doing a new thing through The Upper Room. We are invited to trust that the spirit of this publication can be transformed — using new technologies — to meet the needs of more people like us who are hungering for a sacred way of living.

As people often feel in times of loss and change, I’m filled with a mix of emotions. I’m deeply sad that this resource — which has nurtured me, challenged me, formed me — is coming to a close. I’m also deeply grateful that I have had a chance to be a part of this magazine for so many years. The relationships with writers, photographers, designers, staff, and readers has shown me the way that God works in and through creativity to shape lives, to draw us closer to each other and closer to God.

I now cross over another threshold as work with Upper Room staff to explore digital resources for people like us. No matter what form this new thing takes, Alive Now lives on in the spiritual person I have become under its years of mentoring me. I trust that Alive Now also lives on in you, in your ever-deepening friendship with God and others. May the spirit that formed us in Alive Now continue to guide our journey into the heart of God.

From March/April Alive Now. Copyright © 2017 by The Upper Room. Purchase a copy of this issue on “Thresholds” by calling 1.800.972.0433.

Beth Douthit February 28, 2017 at 10:50 am

I may have missed it from an earlier comment but is Alive Now! going to continue as an emag?

Beth A Richardson March 1, 2017 at 9:56 am

Hi, Beth,

I’m sorry, but no. It won’t be continuing in its current form. We are in a period of discernment about what we might do to take the place of Both Alive Now and Weavings, which have gone out of print (and digital) this year.

Della Green Campbell March 1, 2017 at 6:20 pm

Love Alive Now. Other devotional books too conservative, judgmental, and evangelical for me. Thank you for having this full of awe, wonder, and ways to be loving and caring.

Denni March 6, 2017 at 6:31 am

Wow … just this Lent found a great resource and so sad to hear of its’ ending. I knew the Weavings publication 30 some years ago and have kept every issue found. What I loved is that this digital version offered the auditory readings and reflections (lecto divinio?). Do you have recommendations for alternative sources for your readership?

Virtual creative March 6, 2017 at 10:52 pm

Please keep me posted on God’s Will forward. Devoted reader..thank you.

Deborah Maria April 14, 2017 at 11:56 am

Your expressions, even of mourning, Beth, are beautiful and inspiring.

The way you and Alive Now! came together – and grew together – is a heart-warming story.

Every time I pick up the printed copy and every time I read the daily posting with the note about “this will end…,” I feel loss again. I am buoying myself to feel gratitude more. Yes, Alive Now has been a significant guide along my path of spiritual formation.

Thank you and all who contributed to its relevance and timeliness and beauty.

Thresholds is such an apt word for us today – in 2017 and in the USA and in the UMC.

Peace and joy – as we work for them,

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