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Magazine for teens celebrates 10th anniversary

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo courtesy of Board of Discipleship

Devo'Zine, published by Upper Room Ministries, is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

May 31, 2006

By Kathy L. Gilbert*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)—For 16-year-old Victoria, a little bi-monthly magazine called Devo’Zine is her “cheat sheet” for life.

It is comments like that from teenage readers around the world that have fueled the embers and filled the pages of the devotional magazine for the past decade. The 64-page full color magazine published by Upper Room Ministries is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the May/June 2006 issue.

During the summer of 1991, youth from Hartford (S.D.) United Methodist Church started writing and sharing devotions as part of their confirmation experience. That experience led the youth to the idea of a devotional magazine written “just for them.”

With the help of the Rev. Bill Gran, pastor of the Hartford church, and Randy McGuire, director of camping and youth ministries for what is now the Dakotas Annual (regional) Conference, the youth began to work on a petition to send to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church.

McGuire says they became more enthusiastic with each word they wrote. “We can do this!” describes the attitude that McGuire remembers as the youth prepared the petition.

The youth wrote, “We believe the youth of our church need to know the mutual support and witness of other youth celebrating and struggling with daily faith issues in their lives ... [and need] an outlet for the expression of their own spiritual highs and lows and an opportunity to give witness to what God is doing in their lives.”

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Deb Smith, Board of Discipleship

Devo'Zine founding editor Robin Pippin (center) serves slices of a celebration cake to members of the magazine staff.

Stephanie Gran, Gran’s daughter who was a sophomore in high school in the fall of 1991 and her sister Jennifer, a member of the South Dakota Conference Council on Youth Ministries, were instrumental in getting the petition sent to General Conference.

Legislation “encouraging the General Board of Discipleship to consider development of a youth devotional” passed at the 1992 General Conference.

Since that time the bi-monthly magazine has flourished.

“Written for teens by teens and by adults who love them, Devo’Zine is designed to help youth 12-18 develop a lifelong practice of spending time with God and of reflecting on what God is doing in their lives. It also gives young people a chance to express their faith and to hear the voices of their peers ? and that is one of the reasons it has been so popular,” says Devo’Zine editor, Sandy Miller.

More than 90,000 copies of the magazine are printed for each issue with nearly 7,000 individual subscriptions. The bulk of the orders go to churches. Subscription to the magazine is $20 for one year. Information about how to subscribe is available at www.devozine.org.

Young people have been involved at every step along the way ? from suggesting weekly themes to writing to reading layouts and shaping the issues that go to press, Miller said.

Each issue of the magazine focuses on nine themes, one for each week. Each theme includes daily meditations and a feature article on the weekend. Meditations are written so youth can read them in chronological or random order.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Deb Smith, Board of Discipleship

In celebration of Devo'Zine's 10th anniversary, Upper Room World Editor Steve Bryant (second from right) leads fellow staff members in song and dance.

The Devo’Zine Guide for Mentors and Small Groups is published as a companion piece to the magazine and offers easy-to-use session plans to help adult mentors and small group leaders expand the ministry of the devotional into a variety of youth ministry settings.

Devo’Zine also hosts an interactive Web site for youth ? www.devozine.org.

“The vision for Devo’Zine magazine has always included a worldwide community of young people encouraging and challenging each other. We hope that this Web site is an added bonus to the magazine and helps to fulfill its vision -- giving youth opportunities to ‘talk’ with their peers about life and about God, to pray for one another, to find strength and help in times of crisis, to have fun, to share their poetry, their opinions, their writing -- to find extra spiritual food for their journey of faith,” Miller said.

Beginning January 2007, the magazine will have a new look, extra pages, and many new features that readers have been asking for to help them deepen their faith. “It’s exciting to watch Devo’Zine grow up ? and become a teenager!” Miller said.

Devo’Zine connects me with youth my age, who share the same beliefs and questions that I do. It assures me that I am not alone or abnormal,” writes Colleen, 15. “It reminds me that people have to explore their faith personally. Devo’Zine also serves as a reference book to help me answer questions or to give me suggestions. It helps to strengthen my faith and to analyze how I reflect my Christianity to those around me.”

Edelisse, 16, sums it up this way, “I never thought there would be a magazine that understands what teenagers go through— but Devo’Zine gets it!”

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

 
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Resources
Devo'Zine
About Devo'Zine
Devo'Zine Guide for Mentors and Small Groups
Upper Room Ministries