When Jean Mercer from First Free Methodist Church in Moose Jaw, SK contacted me about using material from one of my stories in Upwords – First FMC’s paper – I did a little homework before saying yes.
I checked out several online editions of Upwords available for all to see at http://www.firstfreemethodist.ca/upwords.php and I really liked what I saw and read.  The latest editions have a community focused feature article, a profile about  a member or members of the congregation, a healthy living piece, a book or movie review, a photo feature and a profile on a sister Saskatchewan FM church.
Just to make sure everything was on the up and up (get it Upwords… up and up) I called my boss Lisa Howden and asked if Jean could quote part of my story Turnaround for her profile on Edmonton FMC.  I got the green light from Lisa and learned that she and many others are familiar with Upwords.
First FMC’s paper launched in 2001 and took on several different shapes and forms before becoming Upwords.  Jean Mercer has been part of the team since 2001 and is currently the feature writer and editor helping to publish 8-9 issues per year.
Painting First Free M
And why put in all that time and effort?  As Jean told me, “Our goals are to better acquaint congregation members with each other, to keep the members informed about what’s happening in the church and to showcase the creativity of members who paint, write and take photographs.”  
A lovely example of this creativity is the painting by Kathy Kautz that graces the cover of this month’s Upwords and is pictured here.
Clearly this is a labour of love for Jean, “I like to write.  I really enjoy the profiles which are really stories about people.  And it is a privilege to write those.  People like to tell their story.  And they like to have someone listen and I think it does some good.  It gives meaning and dignity to how they have lived out their lives and what they’ve done.”
If you are thinking about starting this kind of church publication checking out Upwords is a good place to start.  And finding a Jean in your congregation wouldn’t hurt either!