NELDON: Leader Publications offering platform for religious leaders

In a world where networking and fellowship are more often than not handled via email, group text messaging and social media, the value of face time — literally speaking, not the app — has grown tremendously.

As the world communicates more and more through keyboards and screens, it is more important than ever to regularly check in with a support group or social network. For many in this community, those groups are found in one of two places: through civic organizations like the Lions or Optimists, or in religious circles, as our communities join together to celebrate their faith.

This year, our news team has made it a priority to better engage with the community. In the coming months, you will see many additions to our news products intended to provide different voices, get people thinking, and connect with you.

At Leader Publications, we believe it is important to provide a platform for all viewpoints and, hopefully in the process, spark important conversations that may have otherwise been left unaddressed. While our communities are represented by many voices on its opinion editorial pages, we lack a variety of religious voices representing multiple denominations.

It is with that in mind that we will be incorporating additional pastoral columns each week into our news products, on a rotating basis, starting in February.

It is important to us that we are inclusive, and this opportunity is available to any church, denomination or pastor who abides by our opinion guidelines and has something to share with the community.

We encourage columnists to be positive, get the wheels turning on important issues, and avoid promoting their own church or attacking others. The space should be used primarily to share messages of faith and real-life applications within our communities.

Religious leaders are valuable in our communities because they are in fact leaders. They know their congregants, and therefore have a good pulse on what is important to their communities, and what sorts of conversations need to occur. We are eager to hear their approaches to addressing issues plaguing our area, and excited to celebrate the positive happenings in our communities along with them.

We understand that not all readers will appreciate every faith represented in this new column rotation, and that a portion of our readers choose not to practice a religion at all. That is OK. This new feature is intended not to alienate or divide our readers, but to be inclusive of readers of all backgrounds. As with any part of the newspaper, the sections that don’t interest you should simply be skipped.

Because many of our readers attend religious services in communities that do not reside in, all columns will be published in each of Leader Publications’ four news products: the Niles Daily Star, Dowagiac Daily News, Cassopolis Vigilant and Edwardsburg Argus, as well as online at leaderpub.com.

Religious leaders interested in participating should contact me at ambrosia.neldon@leaderpub.com, or Adam Droscha at adam.droscha@leaderpub.com  for details on column guidelines and a slot in our rotating schedule.

We look forward to the opportunity to continue connecting our region, and providing a platform for those who are working hard to help, heal and celebrate our communities.

Ambrosia Neldon is the general manager at Leader Publications. She can be reached by phone at (269) 687-7700 or by email at ambrosia.neldon@leaderpub.com

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