The Progressive Christian

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The Progressive Christian
1869 ZionsHerald Boston.jpg
Zion's Herald, 1869 (published by Boston Wesleyan Association)
First issue 1823 (1823-month)
Final issueFall/Winter 2011
CompanyTPC Publications
CountryUnited States
Based inDallas, Texas

The Progressive Christian was an independent online magazine and social community providing news, commentary, commentary, resources, discussion forums and multimedia for and about the Progressive Christian movement. It was published by TPC Publications, Inc., a Massachusetts-based non-profit religious publishing organization, and edited by Cynthia B. Astle. It was founded as Zion's Herald in 1823.[1][2] It has gone by several names since its inception before assuming its current title in 2006:

  • Zion's Herald (1823-1828), published in Boston, was the first weekly Methodist publication in America, though not an official publication of the church[3]
  • Christian Advocate and Journal and Zion's Herald (1828-1833), published in New York after merging with the Christian Advocate and Journal, which in 1828 was said to have the highest circulation of any paper in the world[4]
  • Zion's Herald (1833-1840), after acquisition by the Boston Wesleyan Association and replacing the New England Christian Herald[5]
  • Zion's Herald and Wesleyan Journal (1842-1867)
  • Zion's Herald (1868-c. 2003-6)
  • The Progressive Christian (c. 2006 to present)

As Zion's Herald, it was published as an insert in the Southern New England Reporter from 1979-1992. It returned to being published on its own from 1992-1996, with the United Methodist Review included as an insert. From 1997-1998, it was published as a section of the Cross Currents news magazine before resuming publication in 2000 as an independent magazine and changing its name in 2006 to The Progressive Christian.[6] The name change was suggested by a marketing consultant in order to attract more readers and subscribership grew 50% in the following year.[7]

The Zion's Herald was founded by a group of lay Methodists to be a journal "devoted to religion and moral subjects". After it was acquired by the Boston Wesleyan Association its editorial stance was one of "boldness and outspokenness on questions which agitate the public mind."[5] When in 1844 the Methodist Episcopal Church separated into northern and southern conferences, the Zion's Herald was the only northern Methodist paper that did not condemn abolitionism, having in 1836 opened its pages to discussion of slavery while not itself taking a stand.[8] In 1851, the Zion's Herald was considered one of the leading papers of the Methodist church, and described by the Buffalo Christian Advocate as, along with another paper, "the radical organs of the church, ... ably conducted, and by sound and discriminating men."[9]

In April 2008, the Associated Church Press, North America's oldest religious journalism association, recognized The Progressive Christian print magazine with its Award of Excellence as the Best General Interest Magazine in its class (which includes, among other notable publications, Christian Century and Sojourners). In 2009 the ACP awarded it third place.[10]

The magazine closed on January 1, 2012.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Progressive Christian - Faith and the Common Good: About Us". Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  2. ^ Dart, John (December 2006). "The rise and fall of Protestant magazines". The Christian Century. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  3. ^ "Illustrated History of Methodism, The: XXV. An Educational Era". The American Illustrated Methodist Magazine. St. Louis, Missouri: The Methodist Magazine Publishing Company. V: 58. March 1901. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  4. ^ Tassin, Algernon (1916). "Righteousness and Peace". The Magazine in America. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. p. 261. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  5. ^ a b Carbone, Gina (28 June 2003). "Zion's independence". Portsmouth, NH: Portsmouth Herald. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  6. ^ "New England Conference, The United Methodist Church: Commission on Archives and History: Newspapers". Archived from the original on July 9, 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  7. ^ MacDonald, Jeffrey (29 November 2006). "Despite Revived Left, Religious Magazines Wither". The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Religion News Service. Archived from the original on May 29, 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  8. ^ Tassin, Algernon (1916). "Righteousness and Peace". The Magazine in America. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. pp. 266–267. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  9. ^ "The Religious World: Projected Reforms in the Methodist Church". The Presbyterian Magazine. Philadelphia: Wm. H. Mitchell. I - 1851: 391. 1851. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  10. ^ Eckstrom, Kevin (11 May 2009). "Associated Church Press Honors Religion Publications". Ethics Daily. Religion News Service. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  11. ^ The Progressive Christian Suspends Publication