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Happy Birthday, MennoMedia!

   

Mennonite Church Canada/MennoMedia joint release
July 27, 2012
-Michael Spory

WATERLOO, Ont. and HARRISONBURG, Va. — Pile the “presents” in your e-cart, post on our wall on Facebook, and send out a special birthday Tweet: MennoMedia just turned one.
 
On July 1, the publishing agency of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA officially celebrated its first year of publishing as a new organization. MennoMedia’s first year included merging two historic entities—Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media— while also relocating its main office and warehouse and navigating with new leadership.

“It’s been a wonderful first year of learning and growing together to discover what MennoMedia can be about,” said Russ Eanes, executive director since July 1, 2011. “We’ve had our challenges in merging two organizations and facing significant changes in the publishing and media industries, but through it all, our capable team has always been ready to put in the extra effort to help this new organization succeed.”

The new organization brings together the resources of both traditional print publishing and electronic media, and this fall it unveils its first products with these collaborative capabilities. A new curriculum, Real Life, Real Families., will feature both audio and print materials and has been developed out of the successful Shaping Families radio program, which broadcasts on 20 stations across the US and Canada. This curriculum series features a print study guide and an audio CD; it’s designed for Sunday school classes or small groups that want to focus on family issues. A joint book and documentary project will also be released this fall focusing on the life and death of Dan Terry, a humanitarian worker in Afghanistan. The documentary, Weaving Life, and the book, Making Friends among the Taliban, will both be released in October. 

“Our print, electronic media, production, and marketing departments each have their own tasks, but the staff in those departments have also begun working in interdepartmental content creation teams. Those teams are not only working to create new resources to meet the needs of our congregations but are also collaboratively working to ensure that all new products bring together both print and electronic media,” said Eanes.

Herald Press, the book imprint of MennoMedia, published 16 new or refreshed books within the last year, including Dive: Devotions for Deeper Living for youth and an updated version of the popular cookbook More-with-Less. Top books sold from the past year include Mennonite Girls Can Cook, Simply in Season, Martyr’s Mirror, The Naked Anabaptist, and The Upside-Down Kingdom.

In electronic media, the documentary Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives aired on ABC stations nationwide and toured churches in eastern Canada.  Third Way Café (www.Thirdway.com), a website geared for those exploring Mennonite beliefs, continues a strong tradition of providing Mennonite-themed content to a broader audience. MennoMedia will also publish its first audio books in over 40 years: Emma: A Widow Among the Amish and Tobias of the Amish, both read by author Ervin Stutzman.

MennoMedia’s curriculum and resource materials have also been used significantly in congregations across the denomination.  Gather ’Round, the Bible curriculum for children and youth co-published with Brethren Press, is being utilized in roughly 850 congregations, and the 2012 vacation Bible school curriculum, Take Me to the Water: God’s Love Flows, required three additional printings due to high demand.  

As it moves into its second official year, MennoMedia continues to evaluate its role as an agency for both Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA , publishing resources and curriculum for congregations and individuals while also looking to the broader market.

Dave Bergen, executive minister of formation for Mennonite Church Canada, said, “The new energy, vision, and commitment coming from MennoMedia help nurture a vibrant, healthy church equipped to engage the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Happy first birthday, and many more!”

 “I’m excited about the new things that MennoMedia is developing on behalf of our church,” said Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA.  “I believe that this new agency will help us develop greater effectiveness in God’s mission.”

By producing faith-based print, video, radio, and web materials, MennoMedia seeks to engage and shape church and society with resources for living Christian faith from an Anabaptist perspective. While the main office and warehouse are located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, dispersed staff are scattered across North America, including offices in Ontario, Manitoba, Kansas, Ohio and Indiana.

For more information about the organization and its products, go to www.MennoMedia.org.
 
MennoMedia is the publishing ministry of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.