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Gospel Publishing House installs new press

Fri, 07 Jan 2000 - 12:00 AM CST

At 140 feet in length, 12 1/2 feet tall, and weighing nearly 400,000 pounds, the Harris M1000 web press being installed at Gospel Publishing House in Springfield, Mo., represents a major engineering project. It also represents the future of Assemblies of God publishing.

Gospel Publishing House produces some 16 tons of Christian literature a day at the U.S. Assemblies of God Headquarters in Springfield. Since 1979, a Harris M200 web press has been the backbone of this operation, printing the Assemblies of God's Sunday school curriculum and all its major periodicals. Leader of the pack is the church's weekly magazine, the "Pentecostal Evangel," with a press run of about 250,000 copies. Once a month, the foreign missions edition of the "Evangel" prints more than 300,000 copies.

The Harris M200 could only run 16 pages of color in one pass. The "Evangel's" 32 pages of color require two separate runs, each of a quarter million or more copies. The M1000 will run 32 pages of color on the "Evangel" in one pass at speeds up to 40,000 impressions per hour, or 15 per second, eclipsing the current speed of about 22,000 per hour.

"This will almost triple our productivity," said Michael Murphy, Production Operations Center manager at GPH.

By purchasing a reconditioned press from Graphic Innovators of Itasca, Ill., and trading in the M200, the Gospel Publishing House has cut costs significantly. Though reconditioned, the M1000 is outfitted with state-of-the-art components and will increase the quality of GPH publications while dramatically reducing production time. The M1000 will be equipped with two folders, allowing multiple jobs to run through simultaneously. Where the M200 required three shifts filling a 24-hour day to run jobs on schedule, the M1000 is expected to handle GPH's production load in 2 shifts.

"The transition from the M200 to the M1000 poses a challenge for our press crews," said GPH General Manager Arlyn Pember. "We plan to run the M200 until the last possible moment, complete the last job on this press, and shut down with a minimum amount of time before start up for the M1000. Considerable planning and scheduling has been made to ensure this is a smooth transition. Present plans call for a 2-week window where we will change over support systems and conduct test runs. On March 10 we're scheduled to shut down the old press, and on March 27 we're scheduled to run the new press with an issue of the "Pentecostal Evangel" as the first job.

When asked, about the future of Gospel Publishing House, Pember stated, "The Assemblies of God has been printing and distributing Christian literature from its founding in Hot Springs, Ark., in 1914, through the Gospel Publishing House. This recently purchased press is the largest (8 unit), fastest and most versatile. It will allow Gospel Publishing House to better meet the printing requirements of the various ministries of the church. This equipment is the most significant purchase of production equipment over the past 20 years and speaks to the commitment the church's leadership has made toward the printing ministry of the Gospel Publishing House."


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At 140 feet in length, 12 1/2 feet tall, and weighing nearly 400,000 pounds, the Harris M1000 web press being installed at Gospel Publishing House in Springfield, Mo., represents a major engineering project. It also represents the future of Assemblies of God publishing.

Gospel Publishing House produces some 16 tons of Christian literature a day at the U.S. Assemblies of God Headquarters in Springfield. Since 1979, a Harris M200 web press has been the backbone of this operation, printing the Assemblies of God's Sunday school curriculum and all its major periodicals. Leader of the pack is the church's weekly magazine, the "Pentecostal Evangel," with a press run of about 250,000 copies. Once a month, the foreign missions edition of the "Evangel" prints more than 300,000 copies.

The Harris M200 could only run 16 pages of color in one pass. The "Evangel's" 32 pages of color require two separate runs, each of a quarter million or more copies. The M1000 will run 32 pages of color on the "Evangel" in one pass at speeds up to 40,000 impressions per hour, or 15 per second, eclipsing the current speed of about 22,000 per hour.

"This will almost triple our productivity," said Michael Murphy, Production Operations Center manager at GPH.

By purchasing a reconditioned press from Graphic Innovators of Itasca, Ill., and trading in the M200, the Gospel Publishing House has cut costs significantly. Though reconditioned, the M1000 is outfitted with state-of-the-art components and will increase the quality of GPH publications while dramatically reducing production time. The M1000 will be equipped with two folders, allowing multiple jobs to run through simultaneously. Where the M200 required three shifts filling a 24-hour day to run jobs on schedule, the M1000 is expected to handle GPH's production load in 2 shifts.

"The transition from the M200 to the M1000 poses a challenge for our press crews," said GPH General Manager Arlyn Pember. "We plan to run the M200 until the last possible moment, complete the last job on this press, and shut down with a minimum amount of time before start up for the M1000. Considerable planning and scheduling has been made to ensure this is a smooth transition. Present plans call for a 2-week window where we will change over support systems and conduct test runs. On March 10 we're scheduled to shut down the old press, and on March 27 we're scheduled to run the new press with an issue of the "Pentecostal Evangel" as the first job.

When asked, about the future of Gospel Publishing House, Pember stated, "The Assemblies of God has been printing and distributing Christian literature from its founding in Hot Springs, Ark., in 1914, through the Gospel Publishing House. This recently purchased press is the largest (8 unit), fastest and most versatile. It will allow Gospel Publishing House to better meet the printing requirements of the various ministries of the church. This equipment is the most significant purchase of production equipment over the past 20 years and speaks to the commitment the church's leadership has made toward the printing ministry of the Gospel Publishing House."


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Sacramento Church Becomes a Hub of Hope to its Community

Fri, 19 Dec 2014 - 10:23 AM CST

Ebenezer Christian Center food pantry
Ebenzer Christian Center in Sacramento, California, discovered that the hunger that existed in its community wasn't limited to the kids in their children's ministry. The church now distributes enough groceries for 11,000 to 14,000 meals a month.

When Karen Abrego first came to Ebenezer Christian Center (AG) in Sacramento, California, six years ago as an associate pastor, she was a very experienced children's worker and filled with confidence in her ability to reach children for Christ. 

But her confidence was quickly tested and then frustrated. She couldn't seem to get the children's attention, much less get them to settle down. Behavioral issues were rampant. Did the kids just not want to be there? Was it a lack of respect? What was she missing?

"I decided to kill them with kindness," Abrego says. "So, it was an Easter Sunday, and we made silver-dollar blueberry pancakes for the children." Moments later, the light went on for Abrego.

"When the children started to eat, I remembered hearing that sound before . . . it was this moaning sound as they ate — it was the same sound the malnourished children I had cared for in El Salvador made when they were fed," she says.

Albrego realized that many of the children were coming to church hungry.

Ebenezer Christian Center, a member of the Assemblies of God Northern Pacific Latin American District (NPLAD), is located in a low-income, high-crime part of south Sacramento. As Abrego investigated further, she discovered that the nearby elementary school was a Title I school and that 98 percent of the kids attending were on a reduced-rate or free-meal program. 

"The kids were coming to school and receiving breakfast and lunch five days a week, but on the weekends they were food poor," she says. Ironically Sacramento is known as a rich agricultural area, but the people living in the church's neighborhood didn't have the funds or transportation to readily access it — so they did without.

Pastor Dan and Dionna Garza
Pastor Dan and Dionna Garza

Understanding the need, Abrego met with Senior Pastor Dan Garza, and the church began serving healthy snacks to the children on Sunday mornings. They then partnered with a food bank to provide food for families through the church twice a month.

"In February, due to budget cuts, the elementary school lost the support of its food bank," Abrego says. "We went to our food bank and asked if they would pick up the school and its families — they agreed as long as we provided the volunteers." 

Ebenezer Christian Center has an attendance of 350-400. As many of those attending come from the community and understand (sometimes personally) the desperate need of so many of the neighborhood families, the church confidently agreed to the food bank's request for volunteers.

The church now gives away enough food for 11,000 to 14,000 meals each month.

Efraim Espinoza, director of AG Office Of Hispanic Relations, states, "Ebenezer Christian Center, under the leadership of Pastor Dan Garza, serves as a great testimony that the Assemblies of God wants to reach out in compassion to those around it." 

Although some may assume that because the church is a Hispanic church, its community is strictly Hispanic, Abrego quickly clarifies that the area is a "mixing pot" of multiple ethnicities, including Russian, Ukrainian, Filipino, Hispanic, Hmong and Middle Eastern — to name a few. 

Providing healthy snacks for the children on Sunday mornings has been transformational for the church as the children are now attentive. In addition, the food bank has made a huge impact on the church's community. The staff now calls their twice-monthly food distribution from the church their "Friday morning congregation."

Pastor Karen Abrego
Associate Pastor Karen Abrego with two gentlemen from the Ukraine who the church now ministers to through its food pantry.

"The difference between what we do and other food pantries do is that we pray over and with people who come," Abrego says. "The people ask us to pray for their needs. We recently had one woman come rushing in, not worried that she was going to miss getting her groceries, but that she had missed prayer!"

The efforts the church has made to supply groceries to the community has torn down walls, introduced people to the church, and built relationships between the community and church volunteers and staff.

"Now, I walk down the street and people are calling out to me, 'Hey PK [Pastor Karen]!'"

The school has also communicated its thankfulness, saying that children are better behaved and are able to learn more easily without the distraction of hunger. One teacher shared how thankful she was that she could direct parents who were needing food for their families to the church's food distribution at the school. 

NPLAD Superintendent Jesse Galindo affirms the efforts of the church by saying, "We need more pastors like Pastor Dan [Garza] that will empower and support their staff to fulfill the Great Commission through their specific ministry in the local church."

In addition to food ministry, Ebenezer Christian Center also has a ministry to the homeless, taking clothing to the homeless communities every other month; they have brought in registered nurses to give free flu shots; they've helped families register for healthcare; and opened their doors for all kinds of events to meet needs. 

"We're not a mega-church," Abrego says, "but we're consistently chipping away at the rock of poverty and making a difference in families and lives. We've become the hub of our community . . . , and isn't that what the church is supposed to be?"

 

Keywords: AG churches
Authors: Dan Van Veen

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