Secular culture threatens Signs

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A backflip from Brisbane Airport management left Signs of the Times magazine in a difficult position in September. When Signs editor Kent Kingston asked the airport’s Visitor Information Centre about placing Signs in their brochure racks—specifically mentioning that the magazine deals with faith issues—he received a warm response, an application form and paperwork encouraging interest from “tourism operators and other organisations seeking to reach visitors at the point of entry”. It looked like all lights were green. The Signs team went to work, encouraging donors to support the new project and printing 1000 promotional leaflets with the intent of sharing these during the South Queensland “Big Camp” annual convention, 20–28 September.

But then came the unexpected response to the application form from Brisbane Airport—they would not display Signs of the Times and would only accept material from tourism operators, despite previous indications. Potential donors had to be informed immediately and the promotional plans for Big Camp were in disarray.

“It’s getting harder in our secular culture to find public venues willing to display Signs magazine,” said Mr Kingston. “We’ve been unable to find an airport in the southern Queensland region that will partner with us—it’s a ‘no’ from Maroochydore, Gold Coast, Rockhampton and Toowoomba, as well as Brisbane. And last year Queenstown airport in New Zealand pulled their support as well.”

A number of transport outlets still display Signs, however, including the 400 every month on the two Spirit of Tasmania ferries and the new Newcastle (NSW) airport location. And where Adventist individuals and groups are sharing Signs with members of their community, it’s often the case that demand exceeds supply.

“There’s a thirst for the abundant life Jesus promised,” said Mr Kingston, “and even if we’re gradually denied the opportunity to publicly display Signs magazine, the relationships that Adventists are building with friends, neighbours and workmates will continue to be the most effective setting for sharing Signs and the hope we have.”

Find out more about Signs’ various magazine distribution projects at signsofthetimes.org.au/donate.