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Long-time editor looks back on rich experience

   
 
   

Mennonite Church Canada/Mennonite Publishing Network joint release
November 13, 2009
-John Longhurst

WATERLOO, Ont. and SCOTTDALE, Pa. — Challenging, rich, full—those are the words that James E. Horsch uses to describe his 41-year career with Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN).

Horsch, who retired at the end of October as editor of Adult Bible Study, Purpose and Mennonite Directory, among many other things, began his career with what was then called Mennonite Publishing House in 1968.

Over the decades he was responsible for developing and editing curriculum for all ages, worship service bulletins, VBS materials, devotionals, elective studies and books.

“There is almost nothing for congregations that Jim didn’t have a hand in over the past 41 years,” says MPN Executive Director Ron Rempel. “Generations of children, youth and adults have grown up benefiting from the materials he helped create. He has left a lasting and valuable legacy in the church.”

“It's been a great pleasure to work with James,” says Eleanor Snyder, who directs Faith & Life Resources, the congregational division of MPN. “I have appreciated his careful attention to detail as well as his professional responses to readers when they shared concerns about the materials he edited. He will be missed, not only for his expertise as an editor, but also for his warm, gentle, easy-going personality.”

Horsch’s first assignment with MPN was to revise and upgrade the Mennonite Graded Sunday School Series. He then went on to edit two new children’s curricula—Herald Omnibus Bible Series and The Foundation Series—as well as updating the Herald Summer Bible School Series.

Other assignments included Family Worship and its successor, Rejoice! He also assumed full editorial responsibility for the Mennonite Yearbook in 1975 which has now become MC USA’s Mennonite Directory. He served as its Managing Editor from 2003–2009.

Other publications he edited included Purpose, Adult Bible Study and curriculum such as Mennonite Central Committee’s Second Mile series.

During his tenure, Horsch participated in several Mennonite church and ecumenical programs and events. This included serving as chair of the committee on the Uniform Series, a body that selects the biblical themes and texts for the International Sunday School Lessons used in the congregations of many communions in North America and around the world.

Looking back, Horsch says he enjoyed “a challenging, rich, and full life in the world of Mennonite publishing. I experienced the broad scope of the types of editorial fields offered by MPN and, in the process, gained much knowledge of the workings, life and ministries of the Mennonite Church in Canada and USA.

“I treasure the opportunity of working with many talented colleagues, as well as with many lay and professional workers and volunteers across the church.”

Horsch has been succeeded by Sharon K. Williams, who will edit Adult Bible Study, and Carol Duerksen, who will edit Purpose.