Left on the vine: stories we were working on.

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THE MAGAZINE may be no more, but the stories of the Presbyterian Church in Canada continue. Some articles take years to mature; some come to print quickly. (Yes, some are published prematurely; that happens, it's called journalism.)

This is not a complete list of stories we left ripening on the vines. Some of these have been in the works for years, some we began preliminary work on only recently

How a Church Goes Wrong.

This happens to congregations for far too many reasons. Often there is neither villain nor saint. Instead, a group of well-intended people following their best instincts end up fighting bitterly with each other, until presbytery has to come in and shut the place down. Ministers get caught in the fracas. Sometimes they start it. It's a very difficult story to tell honestly. There is a binder of notes and data from a few congregations; we just couldn't work out how to tell the story since it would have to be told with a lot of anonymous sources.

Food!

This was so close to being finished. Reams of research, book-reading and interviews now sit in a certain someone's computer and notebooks. This was a story about the centrality of food to our faith--how it's not only linked to hospitality, but to social justice, to community, and to the very heart of what we believe.

Money!

There is money in the church. Someplace. Some presbyteries have a lot of cash lying around. So do some congregations. Another difficult story to tell because it requires investigative journalism, which requires a lot of time and patience--and likely some ruffled feathers.

Missions.

There are congregational missions. Presbytery missions. And of course national projects. The latter are easy to source. The other two are sometimes difficult to find. There's a mission to ageing Koreans and also Chinese; there are missions to new immigrants, sex workers, seniors, Natives suffering from the aftermath of residential schools, and many others. We tried to squeeze one into each issue; it was not always possible.

International Missions.

We have travelled as widely as we could. We've been to Malawi, India, Hungary, Afghanistan, Ghana and other places. Through our partners, like ACT Alliance and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, our church's financial contributions are felt in every obscure comer of the planet. For example, our partners are involved in refugee camps in Jordan. We'd hoped to get there. Also, we had a story on Kenya slated for early 2017, and for years we wanted to visit our partners...

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