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Future of the Church May Depend On Speaking Faithfully, Authors Contend

5 Dec

For Immediate Release

Church Publishing Incorporated

“Evangelism is the principal challenge facing the church, but the church has demonstrated little capacity or commitment in confronting it,” according to Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson, authors of Speaking Faithfully: Communications as Evangelism in a Noisy World.

“In our reluctance to sound like televangelists, the mainline churches sometimes sound like a well-intentioned service organization, or a political movement, or a social club for the terminally inoffensive,” write Naughton, a former New York Times reporter and founder of Episcopal Café  and Wilson, a veteran communications strategist for church, public interest and non-profit organizations.

Their book is a sometimes fierce, sometimes funny and always engaging attempt to help the church to rediscover its voice. Speaking Faithfully includes chapters on message development and the development of web sites, newsletters (both printed and electronic) and social media networks. The book features an in-depth discussion of media relations, a constructive plan for communicating in crises, and a detailed guide to making congregations and organizations more visible within their communities.

“It is not enough to live faithfully,” write Wilson and Naughton, who are partners in Canticle Communications. “We must speak faithfully, as well…what is required of us are compelling accounts of what our faith means to us, clear explanations of the nature of our spiritual experiences, descriptions of our church communities as places where people are committed to working for justice and peace, and stories about the ways that God has changed our lives and the lives of people we know. These can be hard stories to tell… but it is possible that the future of our churches depend upon it.”

Speaking Faithfully: Communications as Evangelism in a Noisy World
978-0-8192-2810-9   $20.00   Paper   6X9   176 pages   On Sale Now   Review copies on request

Speaking Faithfully includes a theology of church communications and numerous examples of communications gone right and gone wrong. It has already earned a considerable following among church leaders.

“This is a strong, loving and wise guide to the kind of evangelism we need now,” says Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. “Here is a rock-solid, practical handbook to communicating the Good News in ways that actually have a chance of being heard.  Jim and Rebecca have written in just the way they work in person: they are smart, savvy, winsome, occasionally fierce, and passionate about the love and mercy of God in Christ.  I believe God has equipped them to be a gift to the church.  Read this book and use it.”

Brian D. McLaren, author of Naked Spirituality and A New Kind of Christian says “Back in the ‘70s, Christian rocker Larry Norman asked, ‘Why should the devil have all the good music?’ Today we might ask, ‘Why does the devil have all the good communication experts?’ Jim and Rebecca work on the side of the angels to help Christian leaders fulfill their calling with wisdom, depth, grace, and savvy.”

The Rev. Alberto Cutié, television and radio host and author of Dilemma: A Priest’s Struggle with Faith and Love is also a fan of Speaking Faithfully. “Get ready to be pleasantly surprised by this truly theological and practical approach to evangelism and communications,” he says. “Church leaders of every kind will greatly benefit from the wealth of experience gathered here.”

“As professional communicators, Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson understand the power of words,” says Diana Butler Bass, author of Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening. “As Christians, they understand the challenges facing today's congregations.”

At a time when Sunday morning worship competes with youth soccer, Starbucks, Facebook, and the allure of being ‘spiritual but not religious,’ Christians need to reach within and beyond the boundaries of concrete and virtual communities to become better evangelists. Wilson and Naughton help to show the way.

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Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson are partners in Canticle Communications, specializing in work for church agencies, organizations, parishes and advocacy groups. Jim is founder and editor of Episcopal Café, and a former reporter for The New York Times and The Washington Post. Rebecca, a long-time communications strategist, has spearheaded public interest campaigns and church programs.

The new book is available in print and eBook formats. Print copies can be ordered through any Episcopal, religious, or secular bookstore; through any online bookseller, or direct from www.Cokesbury.com or Cokesbury customer service at 800-672-1789. A Kindle edition is available now on Amazon.com, and Nook, Google Play, Kobo, and other digital versions to accommodate all eReaders are expected to be available soon.

Founded in 1918 and headquartered in New York City, Church Publishing Incorporated is the publisher of official worship materials, books, and music for the Episcopal Church, plus a multi-faceted publisher and supplier to the broader ecumenical marketplace. Publishing imprints include Church Publishing, Morehouse Publishing, and Seabury Books. Additional CPI divisions include Morehouse Church Supplies, a provider of church supplies and clergy shirts; and Morehouse Education Resources, which produces lectionary-based curriculum, faith formation programs, plus e-publishing resources and services.

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