Magazine article The Christian Century

The Layman, Critical Presbyterian Voice, Ceases Print Publication

Magazine article The Christian Century

The Layman, Critical Presbyterian Voice, Ceases Print Publication

Article excerpt

The newspaper published by the Presbyterian Lay Committee, The Layman, ceased printing at the end of 2014, but the PLC will continue to provide information and resources online and plans to increase its social media presence.

The shift, which came as part of a strategic planning process, includes "refocusing on the priesthood of all believers," said Carmen Fowler LaBerge, committee president, with "the desire to help laypeople live out the Christian faith in every aspect of their life, especially in their work."

More than 90,000 people received the final print edition. The newspaper, a prominent conservative voice in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), had no subscribers or advertisers. Donations from individuals and congregations are its sole source of income.

The committee will continue to send print material to its 10,000 donors.

"It's not going to look like The Layman has historically looked," LaBerge said. "The cost of that particular presentation doesn't make a whole lot of sense in terms of staff investment and energy."

The PLC has been offering news online, for free, with a small fraction of articles making it into the print edition, she said. In recent years, the PLC has published print and online resources on church property law for congregations leaving the PCUSA.

"The constituency of The Layman has also changed pretty dramatically," she said. A third of its readers are affiliated with other Presbyterian denominations, such the Covenanted Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.

LaBerge foresees that more congregations will affiliate with other denominations and that "there will be disaffected people who remain in the PCUSA long-term ... who do not agree with the choices, standards, positions of the PCUSA. They will need a collective presence of some kind."

The PLC will provide that presence. …

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