Vintage: Good News! We’re 20
That February, Commissioner Orval Taylor, commander of the USA Eastern Territory, made the birth announcement for Good News! He said, “The magazine is to share the ‘Good News’ and be a continual encouraging reminder of the leading of the Holy Spirit in our midst.…”
After 20 years, the USA Eastern Territory’s flagship publication has changed just a bit in title (with an exclamation point added in May 1994). But in its first 20 years, Good News! has undergone many changes and reinventions: in size, appearance, format, paper stock, color, and content.
The biggest change for those of us who put together Good News! is that is now created entirely on computers. In 1997, Good News! also became available online. And Good News! has pointed Salvationists to other websites, the newest of which is the Women’s Ministries site, up and running in May 2004.
Under the editorship of Major Dorothy Breen, Major Lloyd Stoops, Lt. Colonel William Mac-Lean, Linda D. Johnson, and Warren L. Maye, its current editor, Good News! has been the “paper of record” in the East through seven territorial commanders and six generals.
Salvationists in the East have come to rely on Good News! for coverage of territorial, divisional, national, and international news. Over the years, through the newspaper’s pages, we have relived and anticipated annual events such as candidates and commissioning weekends, Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings, Star Lake Musicamp, and the Welcome to Cadets. We’ve also read about many innovative new programs and ministries, such as the young adult gathering, “On the Edge,” SONday’SCOOL®, the Territorial Arts Ministries (TAM) Team, and the Holiness Institute.
In the pages of Good News!, we have been reminded of the territory’s support and partnership with other nations through Self Denial–World Missions Fund, and we’ve strengthened connections with USA East officers serving in other parts of the world.
From the start, Good News! has featured the music ministries of The Salvation Army—the Army’s brass bands, including the New York Staff Band; vocalists, from Songster brigades to soloists; and, in recent years, contemporary praise and worship bands, sacred dance, drama, and mime.
Good News! has also explored the Army’s social services ministries: Adult Rehabilitation and Harbor Light centers, prison outreach, and the work of the Missing Persons bureau, to name just a few.
But Good News! is much more than what it reports. Its purpose statement, revised in 1997, says that the newspaper exists “to inform, inspire, and equip Salvationists to grow in holiness, to serve together in supportive, healing communities, and to reach others for Jesus Christ.”
From the first issue, an underlying Good News! theme has been celebrating our diversity, through articles about corps and individuals throughout the territory from many different backgrounds. In 1995, Good News! was first translated into Spanish and called ¡Buenas Noticias!.
After a few years, and at the direction of then–Chief Secretary Colonel Israel L. Gaither, Salvationist Enrique Lalut turned ¡Buenas Noticias! into a Spanish–language Good News! that has been embraced by Hispanic communities in our territory and beyond. Now, Brenda Lotz carries on as editor. Just this year, a pilot edition of a Korean–language Good News! was created, under the leadership of Lt. Colonel David C. Kim.
Over the years, Good News! has carried stories of inspirational programs and people and has helped Salvationists get the “big picture” of each leadership team’s Spirit–inspired vision for the territory.
On Sept. 11, 2001, a special Good News! edition on the Salvation Army’s comprehensive relief effort in the wake of the terrorist attacks hit a chord that reverberated far beyond The Salvation Army; more than 800,000 copies of that edition made their way to corps, advisory boards, and volunteers; some copies were used as inserts in community daily and weekly newspapers. The special edition, and many issues that followed, painted a beautiful picture of the breadth and depth of the Army’s round–the-clock ministry at Ground Zero.
That coverage illustrates another theme of Good News!, that there is one Salvation Army, not an Army divided into a social services charitable organization and a Christian church. In countless ways, Good News! has emphasized that all ministry, whether in the sanctuary or on the street, is service to Jesus, our Lord.
To emphasize that fact, Good News! has explored the Army’s rich historical heritage: the passion of its founders, William and Catherine Booth; the excitement of the early days of the Army in the United States; and the stories of the officers and soldiers who paved the way for future generations.
Throughout the years, Good News! has provided on ongoing forum on issues vital to Salvationists. Today, a “Mission Still Matters Most” column invites a wide spectrum of perspectives on the core values of our movement. In recent years, Good News! has also carried “Media Takes”—book, movie, television, and CD reviews, to help Salvationists see the world through “Jesus” lenses. Of course, God’s own book, the Bible, is held up as the authority for worship, service, witness, faith, and response to the needs of the world around us.
With Good News! we have celebrated together with the heavenly host as new souls have come to Christ and as saints have been promoted to Glory. So concerned are we here that the “whosoever” receives the real Good News that one feature has been a constant from the start. Each issue has a special “ad” directed at seekers. From “Five Things God Wants You to Know,” “God’s Plan of Salvation,” and “The ABCs of Salvation,” seekers have had an open invitation to salvation (see page 21). In the words of Commissioner Taylor, “The ‘Good News’ is that God is alive in this world and available in all His power to change people and also to change the world.”
by Majors David E. and Rose M. Cedervall