Christian Advocate

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Christian Advocate
First issue1826; 194 years ago (1826)
Final issue1973 (1973)
CompanyUnited Methodist Publishing House
CountryUnited States

The Christian Advocate was a weekly newspaper published in New York City by the Methodist Episcopal Church. It began publication in 1826 and by the mid-1830s had become the largest circulating weekly in America with more than 30,000 subscribers and an estimated 150,000 readers.

The Methodist Book concern would be authorized by the General Conference to publish The Christian Advocate for 147 years. Its location would change as the Methodist Church expanded westward and the slavery issue divided the church in 1844 and become united again to be finally edited in Chicago and printed in Nashville, Tennessee in 1939. It was first a weekly broadsheet, and later a monthly magazine for Methodist families. In the intervening years The Advocate name would also be part of the name of a number of Methodist journals published by local conferences and jurisdictions of the church.

The last chapter of the Christian Advocate magazine was reported in Time magazine's Religion section (Oct. 11, 1956):

The 1826 prospectus described the Christian Advocate as "an entertaining, instructive and profitable family visitor." This week, in one of the most ambitious ventures in the history of church publishing, the U.S. Methodist Church split the 130-year-old Christian Advocate into two visitors—one entertaining (Together) and one instructive.

The instructive visitor is for ministers: a trim, digest-sized monthly called The New Christian Advocate, packed with 22 pithy articles under such headings as Church Administration, Architecture & Building, Pastor & Parsonage. Illustrations and features enliven the pages between pastoral shoptalk ranging from "Preaching on Controversial Issues" to "Psychiatry Needs Religion.

Then in 1959 editors of The New Christian Advocate decided to change their name back to The Christian Advocate and its format from pocket size to full size with circulation bi-monthly.

In 1973 due to declining circulation the United Methodist Board of Publishing authorized the replacement of both magazines with a pocket-sized magazine United Methodists Today, with a supplement for pastors, Today's Ministry. Both magazines ended in 1975.

Thus United Methodists no longer had an official General Conference authorized magazine named The Christian Advocate after the final December 1973 issue was published.

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