On November 29th I made a big announcement about the future of Mystagogy Resource Center (read here). The announcement was that on January 1st the five websites and all future ones will be available and viewable only through a subscription service, which will cost $5 a month or $60 a year. Though this was supposed to begin December 1st, I extended it one month to allow for feedback in the form of seeing how many respond by subscribing. If I have a total of at least 500 subscribers, then I would give serious consideration to keeping things the way they are, knowing that I have enough supporters to help keep this ministry going and more importantly to push it forward as well.
It has now been about two weeks and I wanted to offer an update, and most of it is positive news. First, I was very happy to see that many people have come forward to subscribe, and for this I am very grateful. Second, though some of these have contributed before, about half have never contributed at all before, which tells me that this campaign is working to help bring in supporters, which is the only possible way of reaching the 500 subscriber goal. Third, there have been some that have taken it upon themselves to contribute even more than the subscription amount, in order to push forward the amount of subscriptions, so that instead of 500 individuals subscribing, less can subscribe and the financial goal can be met; this may be the only way the 500 goal will be met. Fourth, we are about half way towards our goal, which means we are about half way there with another half month to go to reach the goal.
However, there is also some not so positive news. First, the goal has yet to be met, which means that as of right now the subscription service is still going forward on January 1st. Second, I have received a lot more feedback from around the world begging me not to allow this because circumstances do not allow them to subscribe. Third, the great majority of my regular readers have yet to contribute anything. Fourth, we are only half way towards our goal, which means we have half way to go towards our goal, and feedback in the form of subscriptions is slowing down day be day.
A few people have asked me what I plan on doing with this money. I assume these are people that have not read my appeals I have written twice a year for the past three years. I will quickly and briefly summarize what I have written before. First, to request for 500 subscribers a month at $5 a month does not come to any significant amount of money for anyone to worry about me trying to get rich at the expense of others - just do the math. Second, to do what I am doing requires full time work, and I am already putting at least an average of ten hours a day into this ministry seven days a week. Third, what I do on my websites is only half of what I do a day for this ministry, which consists of many other things and requires all my own doing, since I am a one man team. Fourth, 500 subscribers will only allow this ministry to survive, and my hope is that the subscription service will prompt this ministry to grow; its the only viable way I can think of.
Here is some more good news. Since there have been some who have contributed more than $5 a month or $60 a year, sometimes doubling or tripling or quadrupling the amount and even more, I have decided that if these websites go to a subscription service because the goal has not been met, those who are legitimately unable to make the payment for the subscription will be signed on at the expense of these generous contributors. By this I also hope to encourage many to do the same, as a further contribution not only to this ministry directly, but to those who daily receive much benefit by it.
I will make my next and last update some time between December 26th and January 1st. Hopefully it is all good news. I understand it will take a Christmas miracle to reach the goal, but I choose to be hopeful and accepting of whatever the outcome. Many have been astounded by the fact that there aren't 500 people out there ready to subscribe and contribute to this ministry, despite its wide reach. I try to explain that this is the consequence of offering a free service, but free services without contributions always die young, unless they have a financial back up, of which I assure you I have not even one, unlike most other active Orthodox ministries and websites which are backed by parishes, monasteries, dioceses, metropolises archdioceses, and large grants. This ministry has always depended on my readers to exist, and it will remain so as far as I can tell.
Thank you to all those who have contributed. You will be receiving something in the mail from me very soon, as long as your address is up to date (you won't believe how much returned mail I get every year, so please update your addresses with me). For those who have not yet contributed, please do so as soon as possible, as the window is almost closed. To all who celebrate Christmas on December 25th with the New Calendar, I pray you have a joyous and blessed Christmas.
With love in Christ,
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