The denomination’s first publication was The Christian Magazine of the South. The first issue was published in January 1843, with Rev. James Boyce as part-time editor. The magazine was published in Columbia, SC, for nine years.
The first issue of the Erskine Miscellany was dated Friday, March 7, 1851. J.I. Bonner and J.O. Lindsay were listed as editors and proprietors. W.R. Hemphill served as associate editor. The four-page weekly newspaper was published in Due West, Abbeville District, SC. The Miscellany served as a community newspaper and a denominational publication.
In less than a year, The Miscellany was reorganized and given a new name – the Due-West Telescope. J.I. Bonner was the sole editor and proprietor, with James Boyce and W.R. Hemphill serving as corresponding editors. The last issue of the Due-West Telescope was published on Nov. 20, 1863.
In 1867, J.I. Bonner decided to publish a new magazine, The Associate Reformed Presbyterian. From that time forward, there has been a newspaper or magazine with that name in The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. The new weekly publication followed the format of its two Due West predecessors – four large newspaper pages. Yearly subscription rates rose from $2 to $3 a year and the advertising rate was $1 per square.
The Synod of 1867 directed Dr. Bonner to issue a “small sheet for the Sabbath Schools, semi-monthly.”
William Moffat Grier, president of Erskine College, became editor of the church paper in 1881.
In 1889, R.S. Galloway began a 50-year association with the paper when he became business manager and local editor. Later, R.S. Galloway, Jr. took over his father’s responsibilities and performed them faithfully into the mid-1970’s.
At Dr. Grier’s death in 1899, Dr. James Boyce and Rev. Oliver Young Bonner became co-editors.
In 1905, Synod elected Dr. Gilbert Gordon Parkinson to serve as editor. Synod always had elected the editor of the publication, which had long been considered the official organ of the church – although it had always been privately owned.
Dr. R.M. Stevenson became editor in 1910, and served until 1940. Dr. Parkinson served as editor until the next meeting of Synod.
In June 1941, Synod elected Dr. C.B. Williams editor.
Dr. Ebenezer Gettys became editor in 1950. Dr. Gettys and R.S. Galloway, Jr. worked together on the church paper for 25 years.
In 1975, Synod purchased the assets of the ARP Company from the Galloway family and began to publish a monthly magazine, which combined The Associate Reformed Presbyterian, The ARP Synodical Journal and the publications of the Board of Christian Education.
The ARP Synodical Journal grew out of the Monthly Bulletin, which was established by the Women of the Second Presbyterial in 1907. The Monthly Bulletin was expanded into The ARP Journal of Missions in 1914. The ARP Journal of Missions became the official communication Synodical in 1918. The name was changed to The ARP Synodical Journal in 1950.
Rev. Zeb Williams became the first editor of the combined publication, The Associate Reformed Presbyterian. The first issue of the new paper appeared in January 1976. Williams’ statement of purpose was to inform, inspire and unite.
Benton Johnston, a lifelong newspaper man, was the first layman to be editor of the denomination’s official publication. He assumed the duties of editor in June 1980, and retired in 2003. During his long tenure of nearly 24 years, Johnston brought the first signs of color to the magazine.
Sabrina Cooper was hired by the Board of Publications in 2003, replacing Ben Johnston. As the first female editor, she utilized her experience in newspaper layout and design to give the magazine a new look. She was also the first to use full color throughout the publication and helped other agencies of Synod by designing brochures, flyers and ads. She resigned in 2006.
Delores McDonald was hired by the Board of The Associate Reformed Presbyterian and assumed the duties as editor in August 2006. With a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and her background as a newspaper reporter, columnist and freelance writer, she has taken the 32-page magazine forward in content and design, with news and articles that appeal to every family member. As of this printing date, the magazine is currently offered to our denomination in a 32-page printed format in full color on glossy paper, published at the ARP Center, Greenville, SC.
In January 2009, an online edition of the magazine was made available by subscription to ARP families. “For two decades, the magazine has been composed on desktop computers. Now it can be delivered directly from our desktop to yours,” said Leland Beaudrot of Central Services. Breaking news items and prayer requests are sent free by email to church pastors and those who sign up on ARP News Update and Twitter.