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Copyright Information

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Ten "Commandments" for Writing Better Letters

All Purpose Letter Writing Outline

Tips For Using This Book

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Letters to Members of All Ages

Chapter 2
Letters to Other Members

Chapter 3
Letters to Nonmembers

Chapter 4
Letters to Church Staff

Chapter 5
Letters to the Community

Chapter 6
Letters to the Media

Chapter 7
Letters to Vendors

Chapter 8
Letters for Special Occasions

Chapter 9
Letters of Acceptance, Confirmation, Invitations, & Refusal

Chapter 10
Letters to Raise Funds

Chapter 11
Letters to Colleagues

Chapter 12
Letters of Policy & Doctrine

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Chapter 6 Letters to the Media

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Most churches offer a variety of programs open to the community, ranging from seminars on childcare, to concerts, to vacation Bible school, to distributing food and clothing to the needy. Yet, unless the community is aware of these programs and services, they are not put to good use.

It is vitally important that the successful minister maintain good relations with the media in the community and share the good news of what the church is doing. These letters are ad dressed to this crucial need for good public relations.

Also, from time to time, the minister will find it necessary to express an opinion, or to state the church’s position on an issue. Examples of these kinds of communication are also pro vided in this chapter, and are aimed at concerned ministers who go beyond speaking the truth and actually take a stand on truth.

6-1 / To Magazines about Advertisements

Please run the following in your classified advertisement section for the next two issues of your magazine:

Church seeks Director of Christian Education. Must be experienced and have degree. Large congregation, excellent salary and benefits. Send resume to Community Church, ADDRESS, attention: Pastor.

Enclosed you will find payment as specified on your classified ad page. If you need further information, contact me at the above address.

Thank you.

6-2 / To Magazines about Articles: Reaction to Published Article

Often, magazine articles generate strong emotion, and editors hope that readers will respond by writing to them. Here the pastor refers to the offensive piece by title and date, gives evidence to support his viewpoint, and suggests a way to make the story less one sided.

I read with interest your article, “ARTICLE TITLE” (MONTH, 200X issue). While I am sure that the experts you quoted told you the truth, I don’t believe that the whole story was told. For example, within our denomination, attendance in the United States has increased 23 percent in the last five years, giving has gone up to 25 percent in that time, and our missionaries overseas have grown from 300 in 1998 to 3,000 now. Hardly the dismal picture painted in your article.

In light of this, I would like to suggest that you run another piece on church growth in a future issue, this time from the standpoint of evangelical churches such as ours. If you need statistics such as I mentioned, contact me or my denominational headquarters, at ADDRESS.

I know you pride yourselves on unbiased, accurate journalism. Therefore, you will want to make every effort to present a true portrait of an important subject like church growth. Thank you.

6-3 / To Magazines about Editorials: Negative Reaction

Each month I enjoy reading NAME’s editorial. Seldom have I been disappointed by his insights and humor.

But this month’s editorial was another matter. I can only hope that his mind was “out to lunch” when he wrote his supposedly humorous look at the church today. Referring to clergy as “fat cats” who twist peoples’ arms to donate, only to have the funds end up in expensive three piece suits and Cadillacs for the men who are pretending to be putting God first, is an unfair blow to the many pastors in this country who have for years devoted their lives to their congregations. I, for one, know very few ministers who have anything close to the material riches de scribed in the editorial.

Suffice it to say that I am extremely disappointed that NAME would write such a piece, and equally sad that your publication had the poor taste to print it. I think that you owe an apology to clergy everywhere.

6-4 / To Magazines about Inquiries & Requests: Desire for Contact with Author of Article

Writers are usually pleased to be of further help to readers. However, many magazines have a policy of forwarding a letter like this to the author and allowing him/her to decide if he/she wants to make contact, instead of giving a reader the writer’s address.

I was intrigued by your article, “ARTICLE TITLE” in the MONTH 200X issue of MAGAZINE NAME. The author, NAME, had some excellent suggestions on dealing with this problem.

However, I found that after completing the article, I had some additional questions about how some of his ideas could be implemented. Therefore, I wondered if it might be possible for me to have direct contact with him, in order that he might explain further.

If it goes against your policy to send me his address, please forward this letter to him so that he can write to me. I am excited about trying several of his concepts in our city, and I am hopeful that he will respond to my request. Thank you.

6-5 / To Newspapers about Advertisements

We are interested in buying a display ad in your newspaper to publicize our annual St. Michael’s Festival. The ad is to run on DAY, MONTH; DAY the XX; DAY the XX; DAY the XX; DAY the XX; DAY the XX. The two inch by three inch ad should say the following:

Annual St. Michael’s Festival

DAY and DAY, MONTH XX- XX

10:00 AM to midnight

Games, Food, Bingo, Kiddie Rides

New Car Raffle

Everyone Welcome

Please bill the church, and if you need more information, contact my office.

6-6 / To Newspaper about Announcements: Change of Location

This is to inform you that as of MONTH XX ,200X, Community Church will be meeting at a new location, ADDRESS. Please correct the listing for us on your religion page. Service times will continue to remain the same; only the address has moved.

Thank you very much for your cooperation. We appreciate CITY’s various places of worship being included each week with the religion news. This is a valuable resource for your readers.

6-7 / To Newspaper about Articles: Suggestions for Possible Stories

Most newspapers are constantly looking for interesting feature stories. In this example, the letter writer shows familiarity with the newspaper by even suggesting the section in which the article might appear.

Is finding subjects for feature stories sometimes a headache? Community Church may be able to help. Among our members, we have several who may prove to be interesting people to your readers. NAME, 00 years old, has a collection of antique and rare Bibles, containing over 60 volumes. Her interest in them began when as a young woman, she served as a missionary in South America and received as a gift a Spanish New Testament dating back 100 years. Miss NAME might be an appropriate subject for either your senior citizens or your religion pages.

In addition, NAME could make an interesting personality profile for the religion or the entertainment page. The author of several magazine articles, he supports himself full time by writing for the Christian market. He also sells photographs professionally.

I’m certain that either of these individuals would be more than willing to be interviewed. If you are interested, contact my office. Thank you very much.

6-8 / To Newspaper about Clarifications

Thank you for publishing on MONTH XX the front page article in which you interviewed me about Community Church’s Food Pantry and Clothes Bank. We are delighted to get the publicity, in order that more people who need this kind of help can be informed that it is available.

However, in the fourth paragraph of the article, I was quoted as saying that I knew of no other church which had both a food pantry and a clothes bank available to nonmembers on an ongoing basis. I’m certain I did, in fact, tell the reporter that, but actually there are other churches, perhaps many others, which do have these programs, but they aren’t in this city.

When I made the comment, the reporter and I were talking about CITY, NAME, but apparently that was left out in the process of writing up and editing the article, which is understandable.

Therefore, I would greatly appreciate it if you would clarify my comment by putting in your corrections column that I meant in this city, not everywhere. The original statement is quite misleading.

Thanks for your cooperation about this matter. Overall, we thought the article was well-done, and we compliment the reporter for her efforts.

If at any time we can be of help for another article, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.

6-9 / To Newspaper about Corrections

Even though the newspaper was wrong about an important statistic, the pastor here begins by showing appreciation. Then, upon pointing out the mistake, the pastor expresses understanding, yet at the same time, states the necessity of a public correction.

It was extremely gratifying to read the MONTH XX article on the front page about Community Church’s Food Pantry and Clothes Bank. This kind of favorable publicity is exactly what we need to get the word out about the services we can supply to those who should have them.

However, in the third paragraph of the article, you quoted me as saying that in the four years we have been operational, we average supplying food to three families per month. The correct statistic is three families per day.

I am certain it is quite easy to have mistakes such as these slip by in the editing process. But, seeing as this one makes a significant difference as far as the reader’s understanding of the subject, I would be most grateful if you would put the right figure in your corrections column.

Again, thank you for the coverage, and if I can ever be of further service to you in doing an article, do contact my office.

6-10 / To Newspaper about News Releases

It would be greatly appreciated if you would run the enclosed press release about Community Church’s MONTH XX Festival of Music on the religion page of the DAY, MONTH XX paper.

If any further information is needed, please contact my office.

===

Press Release:

For XX/XX/XX RELEASE

A Festival of Music will be held on Sunday, MONTH XX, at Community Church, ADDRESS Featuring solos by NAME, NAME, and NAME, it will begin at 7:00 PM The adult, youth, and children’s choirs, under the direction of NAME, will also be singing, and accompanists include NAME, organ; NAME, piano; and NAME, violin. The public is invited.

6-11 / To Radio Stations about Clarifications

Your recent interview with NAME on the NAME Show was of great interest to me. His own story of embezzlement from his church was moving, as were the other examples of pastors he knows who have fallen into adultery, alcoholism, etc.

It certainly is true that there is abuse of power, dishonesty, and deception on the part of some clergy, just as in any occupation. However, I was disturbed by the implication that all or at least most ministers are involved in something immoral or illegal. While none of us claims to be perfect, I do not believe that corruption is widespread throughout the profession. I personally know a number of colleagues, and of those, I am aware of only a very few who have been caught in the kind of problems NAME describes.

Therefore, I feel your interview was, while not untrue, at best misleading. I believe that you owe it to your listeners to clarify that the interview was only one man’s opinion and experience. Overall, clergy are basically devoted men and women of God. Thank you.

6-12 / To Radio Stations about Inquiries & Requests: To Discontinue Objectionable Advertising

For several years now, our family has enjoyed listening to WXYN. In fact, I have often recommended it to members of my congregation who are looking for a good Christian radio station.

However, I was dismayed when listening yesterday to hear a commercial for MAGAZINE NAME. Having seen this publication in the library and grocery store, I was surprised that a religious station would broadcast such an advertisement. While the content may be decent, just the revealing photos on the cover make this magazine objectionable to me.

I hope that this was some sort of mistake and that it will not occur again. If not, I would ask you to please reconsider your position on promoting a publication which attacks the traditional values the Christian community embraces. Thank you.

6-13 / To Radio Stations about News Release

Would you please air the following news release on your community bulletin board during the week of MONTH XX?

Community Church, ADDRESS, CITY, STATE, is holding an All You Can Eat Pancake and Sausage Supper on DAY, MONTH XX. Serving begins at 5:00 PM and the cost is $0.00 for adults and $0.00 for children under twelve. Included are beverage and applesauce. For more information, call 000-0000. Thank you.

6-14 / To TV Stations about Announcements

On MONTH XX, St. Michael’s Church, ADDRESS, CITY, STATE, will be celebrating 100 years of service. In honor of her Centennial, a number of special events will be taking place, including return visits from 6 to 8 priests who served at St. Michael’s during her life, a mass celebrating the anniversary, a program put on by the children in our school, the publication of a commemorative booklet, and a ham dinner open to the public and served in the school.

In an age when the Church is thought of as a declining influence, St. Michael’s is alive and well, continuing to minister to the needs of those in the parish. Perhaps you would be interested in providing some TV coverage of the events planned.

If you would like more information and/or a detailed schedule of the activities planned, please contact my office.

6-15 / To TV Stations about Corrections

Thank you for having me last night on your interview program, “PROGRAM NAME.” I was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss my views on nuclear disarmament.

I did want to point out, however, one mistake. In the introduction, it was stated that my congregation was established in 1956. In fact, Temple Bet-Herut was founded in 1926, and it has grown on a consistent basis since that time.

I did not feel the error was significant enough to correct the announcer, but I did want the record to be righted. Thank you.

6-16 / To TV Stations about Editorials: Positive Reaction

I was pleased to hear news director NAME’s views concerning pornography on last night’s editorial (11 o’clock news). His concern about the increase of adult bookstores in our city is shared by myself and many in my congregation. Studies have shown that when pornography is readily available, violent crime goes up. In addition, it is suspected that child abuse also increases in such an environment.

I hope that many others respond favorably toward Mr. NAME’s editorial. It is only by working together that we can stop the spread of this unwholesome cancer in our locality.

Again, thank you for taking a stand on this important issue.

Copyright © by Stephen R. Clark. All rights reserved.