Church Newsletter Gone to the Dogs

March 9, 2006 by

Hotspur church newsletterOK, that title was too easy.

That guy who draws cartoons on business cards, Hugh Macleod, has posted a PDF of a revamped church newsletter. It’s called Hotspur and is the parish magazine of St. John’s in the UK. Macleod calls the revamped newsletter the most remarkable thing he’s seen recently and says he thinks the designer, Jamie Warde-Aldham of the Craven ad agency, “hit the ball out of the park with this one.”

I don’t get it.

It’s a 24-page magazine dedicated to dogs in celebration of the Chinese new year. From a quick glance it looks like only two pages actually talk directly about the church. The rest is about, well, dogs. Don’t get me wrong–I like dogs. It’s just, well, dogs? It even warranted a mention in The Times.

I love the idea of a church doing a newsletter that’s not all about the church. But I’m not sure if this is the approach I love. Maybe it fits better with British sensibilities. (link via Dave Walker)

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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10 Responses to “Church Newsletter Gone to the Dogs”

  • Eliot
    March 9, 2006

    I downloaded this the other day too. I was hoping for a really well done bulletin. I’m really couldn’t figure out the humor… maybe it is an inside joke? I feel left out!

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  • Matt
    March 9, 2006

    I’m British, and also “don’t get it”… not going to interest people who aren’t dog lovers. I feel it is more of an “intellectual concept” rather than an effective way of communicating – and i bet the church itself is an ordinary english parish church where the services don’t match the “postmodern” bulletin.
    A lot of British people (where I’m from anyway) would be very cynical about this type of marketing as it seems to disguise a church bulletin as something else.

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  • Brandon Meek
    March 9, 2006

    There are numerous question marks floating above my head at this exact moment.

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  • Sean Alsobrooks
    March 9, 2006

    Wow…very strange…I just don’t get it. Church…dogs…china? Somebody’s got some xplaining to do!

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  • Juan Peron
    March 9, 2006

    I am completely dumbfounded. I applaud the design, but remain dumbfounded.

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  • joy abare
    March 9, 2006

    i find it somewhat hilarious that anyone outside of China would take the time to recognize the Chinese new year, much less create a 24 page, mutt clad magazine devoted to the said holiday.
    i don’t really like dogs.

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  • s. zeilenga
    March 10, 2006

    No, don’t you see? It is a case of dyslexia.
    The designer got a memo saying “do a redesign of the newsletter and put a lot of attention on GOD” but the designer read DOG instead and the rest is history.
    Ok, maybe not but…

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  • Eric Wilbanks
    March 11, 2006

    Content aside, this design is horrendous. I’ve seen MS Word templates that create better layouts. My only hope is that the designer was going for the “pre-computer” design style of the 70’s.

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  • stephanie
    March 12, 2006

    Hee. That is hilarous! Confusing, yes. But an aritcle about the history of dog ears? The memorial for a dead dog? Come on, that’s a little funny.

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  • Joel Matthews
    March 13, 2006

    This newsletter is not a joke and neither is it funny, but it is sad. It represents the dying state of the rural Anglican church in England (and elsewhere). When you read the two pages of real content you see that they want more “sparrows” to come to their churches but don’t have a clue as to how or what they must do. Sadly this church as “gone to the dogs” to attempt to appeal the few who receive their newsletter. My old Anglican church I attended as a child went from 1000 on Sunday to 50 today and still behaves as if the year is 1960. And so it is in England.

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