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Christian Herald will cease

THE Christian Herald is to halt publication at the end of next month, a decision that its publisher, Christian Publishing and Outreach (CPO), attributes to a combination of rising costs, the decline in reading among British Christians, the changing face of the news trade, and the decline in newspaper advertising revenues.

The paper was launched in Glasgow in 1874 as The Signs of Our Times , by the Revd Michael Baxter, an Anglican evangelist and philanthropist, and was a vehicle for reporting the Moody and Sankey missions. Bible studies, theological books, and sermons by popular preachers such as Charles Spurgeon were featured, and the paper was the largest-selling religious periodical in the world at the peak of its circulation in 1900: 250,000 copies a week.

"Christian Herald has had an extraordinary ministry over the past 130-plus years, and has been a major part of many people's lives," said CPO's managing director, Paul Slade. "However, the pace of change in the world and the Church has accelerated in recent years, and we now sense that its lifespan has reached a natural end."

Modernisation ten years ago had helped for a while, but that impetus could not be sustained, said Russ Bravo, editor of the paper and development director of CPO, on Wednesday. The company is planning to publish a free monthly magazine, Inspire, which will go direct to the 30,000 churches with which CPO is in touch. "We think it's time for a new publication. This will be small- format, with very positive human stories," said Mr Bravo.

The Christian Herald's archive is to be digitised, to preserve what CPO believes to be a priceless body of heritage. "We hope it will unlock the history . . . making it available through a website, which will enable people to discover what a treasure trove it is," Mr Bravo said.

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