LIGHT OF LIFE-50 YEARS
Introduction by P. Abraham during the Light of Life Golden Jubilee Thanksgiving Service.
Fifty years ago, when Jane McNally launched an 8-page Newsletter, primarily for the graduates of the Light of Life Bible Correspondence School, I don't think anybody could have visualised a celebration of this magnitude. As the Psalmist says, "This is the Lord's doing; and it is marvellous in our eyes."
Light of Life has today grown into a 100-page, premier inter-denominational English monthly in the country. Few Christian institutions in India can claim such an ecumenical following. The magazine endeavours to instruct, inspire, inform and influence Christians to become better followers of Jesus Christ. God enables us to carry on the ministry in spite of heavy odds.
We remember with gratitude the untiring efforts of our former editors, Jane McNally, Robert McMahon, Moonyeen Littleton, James L. Evans and Benny Joseph. [Please join me in a round of applause for Jane who has flown here from Portland, Oregon, to be with us on this occasion.]
We are also grateful to all those who rendered valuable services in the office during these years. The publishing of each issue is a team effort and I am grateful for the wonderful men and women of God who have worked with us over the years. It was not always remuneration that kept them with us -it was their dedication to the mission that Light of Life represents.
Men and women of God, this magazine represents not just another Christian publication. As some of you know, there has been a proliferation of these across the world. Each church, each mission, even individuals have created all kinds of publications. Just look on your own coffee tables and see the number that land on your doorsteps -paid and unpaid copies!
One of the things that God has enabled us to do over the last many years is to have a strict subscription policy. The days of Christian publications being free are long gone. The annual subscription has increased gradually from Rs. 2.25/- in 1957 to Rs.150/- today. I am glad to report that although we have faced some resistance, we have largely overcome.
The other big development over the last 30 years has been our own swadeshi movement! In 1977, the ownership of the magazine was indigenised and as you must have noticed, almost all our writers are Indians and our context is Indian. We have birthed writing talent and continue to nourish and sustain budding Christian writers across this great land. Our Writers' Workshops have paid rich dividends.
The third achievement has been our business viability. We don't depend on external sources. I am a firm believer that Christian enterprises must follow universal business principles and must be-in the long run-self-sustaining and self-sufficient.
The magazine earmarks 25% of its space for advertisements. Even with the increase of pages to 100, we find it difficult to accommodate all the advertisements that we receive. We are happy that there's advertising pressure because that is our main source of revenue.
Light of Life exists for the church and because of the church. We continue to believe that "the one answer to the world's desperate need is in Christ crucified." But, for credibility, we Christians should be eating what we are selling, unlike the celebrities who appear in TV commercials. We look forward to a growing partnership of loving service to the churches.
Our readership now spreads all over the world. Any delay in postal delivery generates frantic messages to the office. However, we need to increase the circulation and reach every English-speaking Christian home in this land. We request the support of all the Pastors in enlisting their members as subscribers of Light of Life.
We are grateful to all those who write Letters to the Editor. Their words are a constant source of encouragement. I wish to place on record our appreciation for each one of our readers; their comments and constructive criticism are greatly appreciated. The ministry could not have progressed thus far without the marvellous grace that God has bestowed on this effort. On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee, we kneel before Him and dedicate ourselves afresh to discharge the responsibility entrusted to us. Kindly continue to uphold us before the Throne of Grace so that Light of Life will continue to bring glory to our ultimate Managing Editor!