Methodist newspaper broadens scope by launching book publishing venture

COLUMBIA, S.C.—Methodism’s oldest still-in-existence newspaper is now a book publisher, too.

The South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, which founded in 1837 as the Southern Christian Advocate, is going strong as it nears its 184th year of operation. But with changes in the newspaper industry, the Advocate’s board and staff decided a couple of years ago to broaden its scope.

“It’s been exciting to start something that is not only fully in line with our mission, but helps people in their own faith and discipleship, as well,” said Advocate Editor Jessica Brodie.

Its first book, Stories of Racial Awakening: Narratives on Changed Hearts and Lives of South Carolina United Methodists, came out in December 2017 and is an anthology of 20 personal stories of racial understanding. It was edited by Brodie with a foreword from South Carolina Resident Bishop L. Jonathan Holston.

Its second, More Like Jesus: A Devotional Journey—Forty Days of Self-Reflection as We Strive to Be Followers of Christ, launched in spring 2018. Authored by Brodie, the book teams Jesus’s words and actions in Scripture with articles that have appeared in the Advocate over the last few years, showcasing what it is to be a modern-day Christ-follower.

The third book, Feed My Sheep: A 40-Day Devotional to Develop a Heart for Hunger Ministry, also by Brodie, released in spring 2019 and teams Bible verses with hunger ministry stories that have appeared in the Advocate newspaper over the last decade.

The fourth and fifth books released this year.

The fourth, What Would Granny Say? And Other Somewhat Embellished Memories, by the Rev. Tony Rowell, is a collection of the pastor and mission trip leader’s 79 faith-based essays and photography. It has been the Advocate’s bestseller to-date and is on its third printing.

The fifth, Called By God: 30 Inspiring Call Stories from South Carolina United Methodists, released last month and features 30 personal stories from clergy and other church leaders about their own invitation to ministry and what it took for them to agree.

For more on the books, visit

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