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Postage increase forces Chronicle to trim page size


In a very real sense, the U.S. Postal Service is changing the shape of things to come for The Christian Chronicle.
The international newspaper for Churches of Christ will cut 2 inches from its length to conform to a letter postal rate. The new size, an almost-square 11-by-11 inches, will help the Chronicle avoid a monthly postage increase of $5,605, said Lynn McMillon, the Chronicle‘s editor, president and CEO.
The new rates went into effect in May, and the Chronicle already has spent more than $11,000 in additional postage.
The reason for the drastic rise: The Postal Regulatory Commission recently determined that small publications and nonprofits that send mass mail weren’t paying their share of mailing costs. While such groups have paid some of the cost of their mail in the past, the balance has been subsidized — largely by magazines such as Time and Sports Illustrated, according to reports.
Postal representatives say that the new regulations will balance the scales. As a result, many faith-based publications face increases.
Kerry Anderson, president of Gospel Advocate, said he had a stack of postal regulations 4 inches thick on the desk of his Nashville, Tenn., office. His company produces magazines, books and Bible class curriculum for churches. New postal rates for magazines take effect in mid-July. Though Anderson doesn’t yet know what the new regulations mean in dollar amounts, “there’s no good news in it whatsoever,” he said.
International mailing rates also have skyrocketed, affecting several ministries. Worldwide Spanish Literature Ministry used to send one box of religious material, from tracts to songbooks, to Ecuador each month for $38. Now the cost is $150, said James Satcher, who oversees the Wichita Falls, Texas, ministry.
The new costs add up quickly, so workers with the ministry are seeking mission teams headed for Spanish-speaking countries that wouldn’t mind packing a couple of boxes of literature in their luggage, Satcher said.
“Our material cannot save a single soul in our warehouse,” he said.
International mail is the lifeblood of World Bible School, a Texas-based ministry that sends Bible correspondence courses around the globe. The ministry uses Alpha Mailing Solutions Inc., an international shipping agent, and other companies to save on postage costs.
“WBS is always looking for ways to try and provide a cost-effective way for churches and WBS teachers to ship mail internationally,” said Ron Pottberg, vice president of international relations.

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