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.