Christian Recorder: July 13, 1876
To the Bishops, Ministers and Members of the AME Church:
After examining into the cost of publishing the CHRISTIAN RECORDER, I find it does not meet one third of its own expenses; that its publication alone consumes all the support it gets, all the profits of the books, and all arising from other Church literature, and still leaves a weekly debt upon the church to be paid in the future.
Now, this is to put you upon notice, at once, that I shall discontinue this state of affairs. You must either wake up to emergency, and send me new subscribers, advertisements, etc., and make the paper self sustaining, or I shall diminish its size to one half , or to one fourth; or issue it every two weeks, or every month, as the merits of the support of the paper will warrant. I will not augment the debt of the Church every week by assuming to issue a grand weekly organ, when that organ is eating out the vitals of the Church.
I am told if I diminish the size of the paper or make any mutations in its publication, &c., that it will ruin my reputation. Then let such a reputation go. I had rather ruin my own reputation than the reputation of my church. There are thousands of dollars now owing on the publication of the RECORDER and it will cost the Church a great struggle to pay it, and I shall not long be a party to the increase of this enormous debt. We have the number and the means to run as fine a church organ as can be found upon the American continent. But if we will not utilize our resources, then let us have such as we sustain. It is in the power of our ministry to rally the people to the salvation of our Church organ, and you must either do it or I shall reduce the size, change its form or alter the time of its publication, in three weeks from this issue. Nor let anyone be surprised; for I regard it as unbusiness-like, unchristian-like and unGodlike to allow things to go on at this rate. Nor is the time given too brief. If our brethren will but take the RECORDER into their pulpits with them, show it to the people note its contents to them and manifest any reasonable industry success can be reached. I know the people want the paper, and consequently are willing to pay for it if an opportunity only be given them. I have only to ask the brethren—will you not do it?
Allow me to say that any minister or layman who will send me four cash subscribers, I will send him a copy free with postage paid. Now, will not our brethren rally? Finally, will not the Bishops, in their visitations give the people the privilege of subscribing to them? Hundreds of subscribers could thus be secured annually.
And now, Bishops and brethren help me to make our paper all and everything that it ought to be; especially help me to make itself sustaining; and God will bless us and enable us to do the work committed to our hands.