The Independent reporters Jonathan Owen and Sadie Gray discuss the publication by the Church of England of a new magazine for 11 to 16 year old girls.
At first glance it looks like any other teen magazine, in a glossy colour cover and in a handbag size – aimed at “girls with spirit”. But don’t expect to find any tips on snogging techniques. Grace, to be launched next month, is anattempt by the church to appeal to a fresh audience as attendance figures fall.
Funded by a grant from the Archbishop of Canterbury and various church trusts,
Grace is the brainchild of Paul Handley, the editor of the Church Times, who said: “It is for girls who have got a spirit as well as a body and who think there is more to life than shopping.”
One big difference, he says, is that the magazine will not contain articles about sex. “It’s for 11- to 16-year-old girls, so the assumption is that they are not having sex. We say that the best place for sex is in a marriage, not in a magazine… The message of the magazine is that life at that age is about other things.”
An independent focus group of 13-year-old girls from London took a look at Grace last Friday and was, broadly, in favour. Almost oblivious to the religious elements, they welcomed it as an antidote to existing fare aimed at their age group, which they felt is too sexually explicit and promotes super-thin bodies.
Tayra Fuentes, 13, said: “Other magazines make you feel like you’re growing up too quickly – you’ve got to get a boy, got to wear lots of make-up. This one shows there are other things to worry about, like school and friends and sports.”
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Click here for more on Grace and to download a free copy in pdf.
HT to Dave Walker