ELKHART, Ind. — The board of directors of The Mennonite Inc. on Nov. 2 looked with excitement at the continued work with Mennonite World Review Inc. to form a new, independent Anabaptist communications nonprofit in September 2020.
“I am excited to be giving leadership to TMI and engage in this ongoing creative process of developing a new organization,” said Melody Pannell, who led her first meeting as board chair. “I am looking forward to our partnership with MWR as we envision an innovative mission that will honor where we have been and give direction to where we see ourselves in the future.”
Sheldon C. Good, executive director of TMI, noted that alongside a decline in print circulation there is digital growth as new readers subscribe to the weekly newsletter TMail, follow The Mennonite on Facebook and Instagram and share content online.
“People are craving news they can trust and stories with experiences of people who are faithfully following Jesus,” Good said. “We continue to be grateful for a large group of loyal magazine readers and our increasingly strong following online.”
Good said some print readers have asked how their subscriptions will be impacted by the merger with MWR Inc. Anyone with time left on their subscription will have it added on to their subscription of the new magazine, which will begin publishing in September. For those who subscribe to The Mennonite and Mennonite World Review, their remaining time will be combined and added to their new subscription.
The TMI board gave input on possible names for the new magazine and provided counsel on digital strategy and objectives such as content and audience growth. The TMI board also discussed the forming of the new organization’s board of directors, which will be composed of a combination of individuals selected by the TMI board and the MWR board.
Prior to the TMI board meeting, a task force of members from the TMI and MWR boards and staff, including Good and MWR editor Paul Schrag, met at Goshen College. They discussed the new organization’s identity, purpose and core values.
The group also discussed inclusion of content and readers from the Anabaptist movement beyond Mennonite Church USA, such as Mennonite Brethren, LMC and people interested in Anabaptism outside of traditional denominations.
Like MWR, the new organization will not be affiliated with any denomination or conference and will cover diverse Anabaptist groups. Like TMI, it will give priority to serving the members of MC USA, who are also MWR’s largest constituency.
“Stories have always shaped us and served as reminders of our values and who we are as Anabaptists,” said MWR board member Marathana Prothro. “That’s what this process is about — expanding our capacity as independent journalists to tell stories that will inform, inspire and equip us as people of faith.”