Change is the Only Constant: Updates on the Helping Hand

Change is the Only Constant: Updates on the Helping Hand

Jun 29, 2015

Change is the Only Constant: Updates on the Helping Hand

Christian Education Council

Rev. Nicholas J. Kersten

Director of Education and History

Seventh Day Baptists have a long tradition in Christian Education. Among our earliest emphases as a Conference of churches was institutions and programs which fostered discipleship and spiritual education. Perhaps no other single effort has had a larger impact on our educational ministries as a Conference than the Helping Hand. From its first issue in 1885, the Helping Hand has encouraged and guided SDBs to the Scriptures as individuals and congregations for 131 volumes, right up to the present. Over that span of 130+ years, the publication has changed many things: formats, sizes, editors, contributors and subscribers. The publication is truly an international discipleship tool, used outside our Conference around the world to the profit of the subscribers.

And yet, despite that success, the publication is in a position where it must change again, or face increasing difficulties which could threaten its existence.


As part of the transitions of the past months, several challenges have arisen with the Helping Hand which the new Christian Education Council is addressing. We want to keep the readers of the Recorder (and our subscribers) in the loop.

The first challenge relates to the mailing arrangements for the publication. We are aware that there have been some bumps in the delivery process for the past two quarters. Those bumps were the result of changes in our mailing processes and procedures, as well as one gigantic failure on the part of the United States Postal Service. We have been working with our new mailing company and the Postal Service to correct these issues, and we believe we have solved this problem. We are sorry for the difficulties in the past few months. We would very much like to continue to hear from churches who do not receive their allotted subscriptions in the coming months to make certain we have worked out all of the difficulties in the new process.

We appreciate the patience and understanding of our subscribers as we worked to implement this change and solve the various issues which arose.

The second challenge relates to billing. Obviously we cannot charge for a publication which we did not successfully deliver to our subscribers. We are working to bill churches and individuals for what they have actually received from us. If you have a question about your billing, please contact us!

The third challenge is wrapped up in the costs of the publication. Our costs to produce the Helping Hand have increased in two key areas (printing and postage) in the last few years. There has been another large spike in the last two months. As a result, we are announcing that we will implement increased subscription rates to the Helping Hand beginning with the December 2015-February 2016 issue. For domestic subscribers, a yearly subscription will cost $17. For international subscribers, a yearly subscription will cost $21.

Because of this increase in printing and shipping costs, we will soon offer a digital distribution system for the Helping Hand, both in North America and abroad. For members of the USA & Canada Conference, we will be rolling out a digital license for the Helping Hand: churches can pay for a license based on the number of copies they expect to print, thereby saving themselves the shipping and mailing costs. For international subscribers, we are encouraging a move to a digitally distributed PDF file, which we can offer for free, provided that there is agreement that it is not to be distributed. We have already made arrangements with one sister Conference to deliver the digital version to their Conference office for further distribution to SDB churches, and we hope to replicate that arrangement with other Conferences. There is no plan to discontinue the print version of the Helping Hand at this time. We do warn subscribers that with the rapidly changing printing and mailing environments, more price increases for the print version seem likely, and on an expedited time table.

Steve Osborn, who has done a remarkable job during this sometimes challenging transitional time, remains the editor of the publication, and he’s doing a great job producing a high quality publication for use in your spiritual growth. He remains committed to that task!


We realize that these necessary actions represent changes from the established pattern, but we feel they are necessary to secure our ability to continue to deliver the educational content that our subscribers expect. We would welcome your feedback about these changes, and we hope you will contact us (, or 608-752-5055) if you have questions or concerns! We are glad to continue to fulfill our mission of aiding Seventh Day Baptists in your walk to maturity in Christ!

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