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Mennonite Publishing Network, Third Way Media integration approved

   

Mennonite Church Canada/Mennonite Publishing Network joint release
October 1, 2010
-John Longhurst

WATERLOO, Ont. and SCOTTDALE, Pa.— Dynamic, innovative, fully-integrated and multi-media—that’s the goal of a new organization to be formed out of an integration of Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN), the publishing ministry of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, and Third Way Media, a department of Mennonite Mission Network.

Integration of the two organizations requires the approval of both owner denominations. The boards of MPN and Mission Network approved the restructuring at a meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Sept. 23 and the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board affirmed the general direction of the proposed integration plan the same day. Mennonite Church Canada’s General Board and Formation Council will discuss the integration proposal later this fall.
  
In approving the integration, the MPN and Mission Network boards noted that the integration of MPN, which is based in Scottdale, Pa., and Waterloo, Ont., and Third Way Media, based in Harrisonburg, Va., will be beneficial for the church.

“We believe that this integration is in the best interest of the church,” says MPN Board Chair Phil Bontrager. “Both organizations are focused on serving the needs of the church, and extending its witness to the world.”

The integration plan, co-authored by business consultant Allon Lefever and Duane Stoltzfus, who teaches media and communications at Goshen College, calls for a new name for the organization, and for the consolidation of as many operations as possible into one primary location to help improve efficiency and sustainability. The plan recommends that this location be in Harrisonburg, Va., with an on-site CEO.

While excited by the possibilities presented by the integration of the two organizations, MPN Executive Director Ron Rempel recognizes that “these changes will not be without some pain due to relocation and consolidation.”

But, he goes on to say, “we believe it is essential for the long term sustainability, and to enable us to better serve the church.”

Interim Third Way Co-director Sheri Hartzler agrees, adding that “working together will bring financial stability and, at the same time, reach a wider audience with the good news of the Gospel . . . this is an exciting time in the history of Third Way Media.”

The integration, she adds, “has the potential for increasing resources for the church, and being a powerful witness to our society.”

On the financial side, the integration will help both organizations work towards sustainability through cost savings, new products and services, and new marketing initiatives.

In the current fiscal year, MPN expects revenues of about $3.2 million from the sale of books, curriculum and other items, while Third Way Media expects just over $532,000, from grants, donations and sales.
  
The new organization will relate to both Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, and will retain a presence in Canada. It will also continue to offer products and services through existing brands such as Herald Press, Faith & Life Resources and Third Way.
   
Dreams for the new organization include becoming a clearing house and center of Anabaptist content; working with communication and creative writing departments at Mennonite colleges and universities; partnering with other denominations looking to use media; and fostering new creative talent.

Mennonite Publishing Network is the publishing ministry of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA