A Season of Grieving

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Today it happened. The [last] issue of Alive Now arrived. I read the Managing Editor’s introduction inside the front cover and the “Last Page” — fittingly a poem by frequent-contributor Jan Richardson — as I always do. Then I set it aside. I will savor it in its own time, during March and April. Recently I received a refund check from Upper Room Ministries [PO Box 340004, Nashville TN 37203] for the balance of my subscription. I send the check back with a note that I would MUCH PREFER having Alive Now than any refund. I asked them to look for a way to restore Alive Now as a living devotional guide. I have walked with this publication for more than two decades. The cover has a Celtic look. Beautiful. Thank you, Beth and other editors, writers, supporters.
-Deborah, Shared on Facebook

It was a year ago in January when we learned that the Weavings journal would be brought to a close. The subscriptions had dwindled down to just a few and income from subscriptions didn’t begin to cover the costs of production. In June, we made the same determination for Alive Now. The last Weavings — November/December/January — arrived in people’s homes in October. The last Alive Now — March/April — is in the mail right now.

Since the first of this year, I’ve slogged through days like I was trying to walk through an ocean. I was weighed down by my grief and the grief of readers, world-wide.

I have nearly completed all the tasks of “stopping.” I realize, now, that it has been like journeying with two best friends in the process of their dying. Alive Now and Weavings, in hospice care, are nearing the ends of their journeys.

I am so grateful that I had these two friends for so long. And I’m so sad to see them go. But I’m weary from the process of watching them end, from responding to the grief of myself and others. From taking care of the last collection of articles, the last editing, the last contracts and check requests, the last printing, the last delivery of the copy to the office. I am nearly finished with the last of everything … and I’ll be able to turn over the future of these fine publications to the movement of the Spirit and the creativity of The Upper Room staff.

I’m so grateful to all of you for walking with me, for your incredible loyalty through the years, for your writing and your photography. For your purchasing and your gifting. For your support and enthusiasm. And for your feelings of loss, your solidarity, during this season of grieving.

We will be conducting a ritual of honoring and releasing Weavings on February 21 at 2:00 p.m. (CST). I hope you will think of us during that time. Also, we have back issues of Weavings available for sale for a short time. (And we have a place for you take a survey and share your stories of Alive Now.)

Thank you all for your support. We at The Upper Room welcome your prayers as we discern our next steps. And I’ll be moving on to a new role at the office. And, like Julian of Norwich reminded us, “All shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well.”

Thanks be to God for these two friends, Weavings and Alive Now.

17 thoughts on “A Season of Grieving”

  1. That post made me tear up. I love reading all of the posts online and have brought me through tough times. This makes me feel very guilty that I did not subscribe to the magazines. This is a lesson to all of us hopefully that just because you read something online does not mean that those blessings will last if you don’t support the cause. Thanks and I am sorry.

    1. Oh, please, no guilt. ❤ The publishing world has been changing for a long time. And these publications have nearly ended several times during the last 15 years. Perhaps something new will come from these deaths. I hope so.

  2. Beth, your words are poignant memorial for this published friend of mine (and of many). They are sadly beautiful. I am so sorry that the demise of your printed world has caused you such grief. I trust that a big beautiful window will open soon. Corporate decisions (and political ones) can be hard to live with. We live in ‘interesting’ times. Namaste.

  3. So sorry. Also we have had another death. SoulFeast died a silent death and it seems nobody cared. We knew we were not meeting last year because of General Conference and we expected to meet this year. This is where we, the leaders of Bible Studies (feeders of our congregations) are fed each year.

      1. SOULfeast is no more??? I haven’t been able to attend yet. Friends told me about it 2- 3 years ago. They had been going regularly yet it never came up in conversation. When it did, I thought “neat! I want to go there some day…” Awwww… I believe in rising phoenixes. More changes ahead (in the UMC).

  4. All I can say is how very sad I am. Very sad. I hope deep inside you know, or will come to know, that whatever the numbers were telling, they said NOTHING of the day by day powerful, life-giving, soul-deepening ministry that was happening. My own spiritual journey grew into sustained regular practices, the kind of practices that take shape through days of joy and carry on through days of sorrow – all through the daily emails and readings from the Upper Room. Not only in my own life, but in my small group, the articles and pictures and quotes are held in our hearts and memories – for me, a big red chair on the beach, symbolizing being wrapped in God’s loving embrace. In creating faith studies for our community, we were wonderfully supported by the writings of Upper Room staff and the staff that worked diligently and with faith and speed through our permission requests. We came to only look to the Upper Room, because of the quality, strong theology, and ease of working with the staff. Having said all this, I do understand how financial support underpins ministry and so I also grieve with you. Nevertheless, in the grief of today, please also claim and celebrate the how God has been at work through these publications and your ministry. And for all of us (and I’m writing to myself here) to know that God is already at work in ways we cannot even imagine and goes ahead of us into new adventures (something I learned through the Upper Room) in an ever deepening journey of faith (Ephesians 3:20). Peace!

  5. My heart is with yours. I cannot believe something so beautiful and so meaningful to me has come to an end. There was always something provocative, something soothing, something thoughtful in every issue. I have not found that combination anywhere else. You are right: it is like saying the final good-bye to a dear friend. Oh, how I will miss Alive Now.

    Mary Ann Tabor Colorado Springs, CO

    ========================= Mary Ann Tabor matabor318@gmail.com

    I have a new email account. Please update your records.

    >

  6. So sad that there is not the print edition of Alive Now. I’ve used it as night time reading and I don’t look at my computer in the evening. Things do change in life and I guess we have to go along with the new. God bless you and all your work.

  7. I only received my own subscription for the last few years, wish it had been many more. I understand that the difficult decision to end it had to be made, still I will miss it terribly. It was a beautiful publication in so many ways. Well done.

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