Two leading Mennonite publishers plan to merge by Sept. 1, 2020, creating an independent media organization with a vision for a flagship Anabaptist communications hub in print and online.
The Mennonite, Inc. (TMI), and Mennonite World Review, Inc., completed their merger exploration June 28, when members of the MWR, Inc., corporation approved the plan by a vote of 69-1.
Earlier this year, TMI reached an agreement with the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board, which released TMI to move forward with the merger.
TMI publishes the MC USA monthly magazine but is incorporated separately from the denomination. MWR, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Newton, Kansas, publishes an independent biweekly newspaper. Both manage growing digital platforms.
The plan calls for the new organization to unveil new products, including a merged magazine along with a new website, by September 2020.
The journalistic vision for the new organization as endorsed by the boards of TMI and MWR, Inc., calls for producing content that “explores the intersection of faith, life and culture through an Anabaptist lens.”
Since the formation of a merger task force in May 2017, plans have developed to combine the existing organizations’ strengths and carry forward their missions while adapting to changes in the ways people use digital and print media in the 21st century.
Like MWR, Inc., the new organization will not be affiliated with any denomination or conference. And like TMI, it will give priority to serving the members of MC USA, who are also MWR, Inc.’s largest constituency.
The vision continues MWR, Inc.’s mission of “serving the global Anabaptist movement” and fulfills TMI’s goal of being “a forum for Mennonite voices.”
The name of the new organization and title of the magazine have not been decided.
Sheldon C. Good, executive director of TMI, will be the executive director. Paul Schrag, editor and publisher of MWR, Inc., will be the editor.
For John Longhurst, board president of MWR, Inc., the approval by corporation members brings to an end a productive, engaging and energizing period of dreaming and discussion by the boards of MWR, Inc., and TMI. “It’s great to now be in a place where we can start making the merger a practical reality so we can better serve our readers and the wider church,” he says.
Melody Pannell, the TMI board chair, says: “This is a significant moment, a kairos moment. Our historical presence, collective efforts and innovative ideas have helped get us here and will continue to propel us forward. We look forward to forming this new ministry and to serving the Anabaptist movement for generations to come.”