Methodist Message (MM) is celebrating its 125th anniversary this October, and will mark this milestone with several initiatives over the next few months. God’s faithfulness has seen MM through continuous production in its first century, covering notable events such as the 16th World Methodist Conference held in Singapore, and the Fellowship of Asian Methodist Bishops. The only break in production was the blackout during the Japanese Occupation from 1941 to 1946.1
Look out for our special commemorative insert in October, which takes you down memory lane to where MM started as Malaysia Message, traces its evolution of style and content, and looks forward to the future as Methodist Message.
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Back then, the word “Malaysia” was chosen because the early pioneers thought in terms of serving the then Malaya, Sumatra, Java and the Philippines, which were regarded as an entity named Malaysia in the 19thcentury.
The Malaysia Message was considered to be the voice of Methodism in the area, and exercised a prophetic role as a “house magazine” committed to the church by not refraining from playing critic to it.2 It kept its finger on the pulse of recent happenings and social concerns such as support for the anti-opium, anti-alcohol and anti-gambling campaigns.
Initially the official organ of the Methodist Mission/Church in Singapore and Malaysia till May 1952, it later became Methodist Message, the organ of the South-eastern Asia Central Conference and served the Methodist Church in Malaysia and Singapore from 1964. When the Methodist Church in Singapore was established in 1976, the publication retained the name Methodist Message. Our eight-page insert in October – MM’s anniversary month – will also feature interviews with a few past editors on their challenges helming MM, and their accounts of their most memorable issues.
Play a part in putting together this special issue by sending in your stories about how MM has touched your lives, and selected readers will have their stories published in the insert. It will also contain a two-page survey, where readers can give us feedback on their preferred MM sections, and what they would like to see in MM, be it in the look and feel, or content.
In keeping with audience trends as digital publications are gaining popularity, the MM HTML site will be revamped into a brand new MM Online site (message.methodist.org.sg) in early April, with a web banner announcing MM 125. This microsite will be changed from providing MM issues in an e-book format to a responsive HTML format suitable for mobile viewing.
This contemporary layout will have a more updated look, aimed at engaging and appealing to both digital natives and digital immigrants. Articles will be re-organised for greater ease of use, and for readers to find similar articles, and follow calls to action with just one click.
We warmly invite you to join us in the upcoming MM 125 initiatives to be carried out over the next few months.
1 Methodist Message October 1991, Vol 92, No 46
Chia Hui Jun is Editorial Executive at Methodist Message and worships at Foochow Methodist Church.