Canadian Mennonite
Volume 11, No. 17
September 3, 2007


Ten years of ‘a good thing’

Tim Miller Dyck, Editor/Publisher

Ten years ago this month, the first issue of a “new publication for Canadian Mennonites designed to unite, inform and inspire” was sent to households across the country.

The publication you are now reading, Canadian Mennonite, is the successor to the 26 years Mennonite Reporter was published and the 18 years of The Canadian Mennonite which preceeded it. That’s more than 50 years of Mennonite publishing, a ministry connecting us together and providing a way for all of us to witness to and about God’s work in our world.

Canadian Mennonite was a courageous and visionary move in 1997. It would be a magazine for everyone in the church, something in which we could all share and contribute. Helmut Harder, then general secretary of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada, wrote four reasons why the proposed new magazine “is a good thing for the [church].”

1. Identity: The CMC church family needs to explore and give shape to its identity. We are in a stage of history where individuals and groups want to “do their own thing.” This is positive if it strengthens believers. It is negative if it causes us to break fellowship with the church. When the network on congregational and conference relationships growns thin, commitment to the interpretation of the Gospel as understood within Mennonite history also grows thin. A new church paper can provide a forum in which we engage in identity-formation in a Christ-centred context.
2. Information: The CMC family needs to be informed about its members. The mass media do a good job of bombarding us with news that focuses on political and social events and on crises and catastrophes. More than that, we need information about what is happening in and through the church. What is God doing in the world? What is God doing through the Mennonite church? A church paper provides us with vital information about the church to which we have made a commitment in baptism and in faithful membership. A church paper can foster a sense of fellowship among us and connect us with Christians around the world.
3. Faith: A church paper comes with a message of faith and hope. It tells how one part of the body of Christ, the church, is active in mission and service. It offers thoughts on scripture and on contemporary Christian life. It nurtures the mind and the soul. A good church paper inspires devotional meditation and deepens our insight into God’s truth. A church paper can bind us together in faith and life.
4. Discussion: A church paper provides opportunities for us to speak to one another, with everyone listening in. Letters to the editor allow us to carry on conversation on issues. Articles on a variety of topics permit us to share ideas for all to read and ponder. The church paper often lands on the coffee table where it serves as a discussion starter. A good church paper becomes a catalyst for vital conversation in which we give and receive counsel.

These reasons are as true now as they were ten years ago. Canadian Mennonite has carried out those responsibilities and we, together with you all, will continue to do so into the future.

At the same time, after ten years, it’s time for a new look and new structure. The redesign launched with this issue is the result of months of work to create something effective, flexible and beautiful. After four rounds of reviews, it’s also time to unveil it and ask what the most important reactions are—yours.

We’re excited to bring you full-colour throughout the magazine, larger type in a number of places and more flexibility, clarity and browse-ability in the magazine’s structure.

Our new grouping of articles into three sections (God at work in the church, God at work in us, and God at work in the world) helps us see how our ministry as Christians is to join with what God has already and continues to do for us. Our strength and our salvation comes first and only from God.

You’ll also find each issue now comes with discussion questions for use in group study and the start of a new regular treat of Mennonite storytelling by Jack Dueck. Please note as well some new e-mail addresses in the masthead.

Welcome to a refreshed Canadian Mennonite! Please let us know what you think.

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