This article comes from the September issue of The Mennonite, which focuses on “135 years” of The Mennonite and Gospel Herald.
My first day on the job, Feb. 1, 2018, is the same date listed on the official proposal to merge The Mennonite, Inc., and Mennonite World Review, Inc. Until June 2019, I didn’t know—none of us did—whether this merger would actually happen. But here we are.
For over two decades, dramatic changes have been impacting print publications, including The Mennonite and Mennonite World Review. Most recently for us, declines in advertising, print circulation and denominational loyalty, among other forces, led to questions about long-term financial viability despite steady expansion of digital platforms and readership. Even though both organizations remained relatively strong in recent years—a testament to our loyal readers and other stakeholders—it no longer made sense to compete for many of the same readers and resources.
It’s been my conviction that merging The Mennonite, Inc., and Mennonite World Review, Inc.—where I worked from 2010 to 2012—was the right move for both organizations. But this merger is not only about combining resources and creating efficiencies. It’s about the opportunity to create something new, something better. It’s about seeking to provide the best possible forum for Mennonites and anyone interested in Anabaptism to explore faith and culture. It’s about how to not just survive but to flourish.
After the merger became official in summer 2019, my work shifted from negotiating the merger to helping lead the birthing of Anabaptist World: its purpose, products, possibilities. That work has been a joy and difficult at times—to honor who and what The Mennonite and MWR have been and at the same time create a ministry that is new and better.
I’ve wondered: How do we build on and expand our unique legacies and seek fundamental change in the way we operate? How do we best position this new ministry amid the ever-shifting realities of religion, journalism and technology? How do we cultivate a forum in which the vast diversity of those among us can share their stories, transforming us to more fully reflect God’s love along the way?
I am grateful to have led The Mennonite, Inc., and helped create Anabaptist World. I have chosen to pursue other opportunities and will not be on the new staff.
For 135 years, readers made The Mennonite possible. For 97 years, readers made MWR possible. This September, you will make Anabaptist World possible.
Sheldon C. Good is executive director of The Mennonite, Inc.