The Banner During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Banner during the COVID-19 pandemic
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The COVID-19 coronavirus, declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, has affected everyone’s everyday lives. With physical distancing measurements in place, many institutions, including churches, have their programs and ministries disrupted. We at The Banner pray for all of us in this difficult time. We, too, are affected by all of this.

First, like everyone else, we are also doing our best to ensure the safety and health of everyone to reduce the spread of this virus. All of our staff is now working remotely from home. Thankfully, since about half of the team, including myself, already works remotely from home anyway, this transition has been smooth for us as a team. The biggest adjustment for many is the fact that our families, especially our children now that schools are closed, are home with us, too.

So the good news is that The Banner is continuing to serve our readers by producing and delivering content online, via our weekly e-newsletter, our mobile app, our social media accounts, and also in print. Depending on how readers normally receive their print version, some readers might experience a delay in getting their hands on their print copies. Many of our Canadian readers get their Banners through their churches. But since most churches have suspended their worship services during this health crisis, getting the print Banner copies into church members’ hands has become trickier. We attempted to communicate with all these churches via email, and some have suspended the deliveries of The Banner, while others will seek to find creative ways to deliver copies of The Banner into their members’ hands.

I would like to remind readers that you may always sign up for deliveries of The Banner print directly to your home at no charge to you at thebanner.org/signup. Of course, if you prefer the digital experience, you also may sign up for our weekly e-newsletter or learn how to download our free mobile app from that site.

The pandemic also has affected us content-wise. For starters, since we are a monthly magazine and many of our articles, as mentioned in a previous post, are planned, written and prepared months in advance, we worry if a number of our articles, especially in print, which is less nimble for change, might appear tone-deaf to our readers at this time. To some degree, given our limited resources, it can’t be helped.

In some cases, we have to produce new, more appropriate content, especially online. For example, this Behind the Banner blog post originally was supposed to be about something else. But given the crisis, it seems prudent to write a post that acknowledges the pandemic instead.

Our news coverage has been affected. With so many events and programs suspended or canceled due to the pandemic, our coverage has to shift to COVID-19-related news. Even some news stories that began a month ago end with a note about how the virus has affected a particular event or story. We try to find news angles that not only show ways churches and ministries are coping or adjusting but also provide resources to readers during this time.

Our Mixed Media reviews also have shifted to focus more on media that readers can still enjoy during stay-at-home measures. Recently, we highlighted virtual museums you can explore online.

We don’t know how long this health crisis will last. We don’t know what other adjustments need to be done moving forward if these restrictive measures continue. In that regard, we stand in solidarity with all of you during these uncertain times. We are in this together.

We are committed to continue to serve you as much and as long as we can. We will bring you news relevant to the Christian Reformed Church family during this time. We will provide insightful, even provocative, articles for your consideration. We will endeavor to keep you connected and informed throughout this health crisis.

I draw encouragement from our Lord Jesus’ words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV). 

May God provide for you and keep you safe, even as you act wisely to safeguard yourselves and your loved ones.

About the Author

Shiao Chong is editor-in-chief of The Banner. He attends Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in Toronto, Ont.

Shiao Chong es el redactor jefe de The Banner. El asiste a Iglesia Comunidad Cristiana Reformada en Toronto, Ont. 

시아오 총은 더 배너 (The Banner)의 편집장이다. 온타리오 주 토론토의 펠로우쉽 CRC에 출석한다.

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