Published on Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Publishing House Reduces Spending to Address Ongoing Pandemic

Publishing House Reduces Spending to Address Ongoing Pandemic

The continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has required The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH) to take additional steps to reduce spending due to weekly sales shortfalls that average 57% of pre-pandemic levels. Thousands of products UMPH provides to congregations are used for in-person gatherings for worship, Sunday school, and small group studies. Many of these congregational activities have been curtailed because of the coronavirus.

As the impact of COVID-19 was first felt around the world, UMPH increased offerings of digital resources that can be used by churches for virtual worship and other events. The publishing house authorized the free use of copyrighted content that it owns as congregations began to rely on the internet to reach people and help them stay connected. Details about available online resources can be found at https://amplifymedia.com/.

Last spring the publishing house announced staff reductions and other cost-cutting measures after coronavirus triggered the drop in sales. UMPH receives no general church funds and covers operating costs by selling Bibles, hymnals, and other Christian study materials. The United Methodist Publishing House is the parent organization of Cokesbury, as well as other well-known brands including Abingdon Press, Amplify, Ministry Matters, and the Common English Bible.

“Cokesbury continues to serve thousands of churches and their leaders every day with excellent resources for small group Christian formation, Vacation Bible School (VBS), worship, and preaching that are used at in-person events and through digital networks,” said Brian K. Milford, President and Publisher of UMPH.

Cokesbury has announced new Lenten study resources and an all-new VBS program, Discovery on Adventure Island.  More information about these and other products is available at https://cokesbury.com.

The publishing house announced personnel reductions due to COVID-19 last spring. To adjust to the persistent fall-off in income, UMPH said today that it has eliminated thirty-two additional staff positions and the persons affected have received information about severance benefits. “Our hearts break as we share distressing news with valued colleagues. The consequences of depressed sales make it imperative that we lower costs. Current levels of deficit spending cannot be sustained as we wait for churches to resume in-person activities,” said Milford.

 

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Author: Chari Greer

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