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If you’re seeing this column, you’re at least a casual Banner reader, but if you’re new to the magazine, there might be some things you don’t know. Here’s a quick primer:

1. If you have a question or criticism, The Banner’s Reply All section is for you. We appreciate readers digging into the implications of articles and raising another point of view. Anyone can write to The Banner doesn't shy away from sharing readers’ thoughts when we’ve missed the mark on something. Go here before you go off on social media.

2. Different parts of The Banner have different purposes. If something is striking you as silly or useless or incomplete, consider the intent of the piece. For example, Discover is intended for younger audiences and “explores nature, science, and God's amazing, good world.” The Banner has been tasked by synod to accommodate content particularly geared to children. The Discover column is a way for all readers to discover something they might not have known about God’s creation. Other regular columns, such as The Other Six and Still, offer first-person accounts of “discipleship, challenges, and how life experiences shape our faith” or “a personal experience of God’s grace in unexpected corners.” One writer’s personal experience might not be relatable to all readers, but over time, with a variety of writers, there should be something here that connects with all different parts of our readership. We learn from each other!

3. The Our Shared Ministry section of The Banner is written and edited by the communication team of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Here, separate from the editorially independent news, columns, or features, the ministries of the CRCNA contribute stories about their work that they think will be of interest. Discerning what to include is the choice of ministry staff. Questions about stories in Our Shared Ministry can be directed to that section’s editor, Kristen deRoo VanderBerg, CRCNA director of communications and marketing (

4. The Banner, as the CRCNA’s denominational magazine, generally acts as a mirror and a forum. It mirrors to its audience what and who they are (particularly in the news, Faith Matters, and Cross Examination sections), and it provides space to air ideas—even ones that don’t necessarily align with the views of the denomination or the editors—so we embrace as wide of a readership as possible, from appreciators of the Discover column to those wanting to chew on Big Questions.

If you’re a critical reader, we’d love to have you as a regular reader! Request the monthly print edition at 1-800-777-7270 or visit to find our free app or subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter.

Note: You can read a longer version of this article at

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