In this first issue of 2019, you’ll notice some things are different on the pages of this magazine.
There are changes in the design, thanks to the creative work of designer Betty Avery. After 11 years, it was time to refresh how CM looked on paper. Gone are the shaded boxes that strained the eyes of some readers. A whiter paper will—we hope—make the photos brighter and more appealing. A repositioning of the columns and letters gives more prominence to the columnists’ opinions and avoids the page turning that bothered some readers of the Readers Write section.
You will also see changes in how the content is organized. While columns and letters remain in the same area, we’ve taken care to distinguish them more clearly in the newly named “Opinion” section, where other viewpoints and reviews are also gathered. Then comes the “News” section, with reports on events and organizations throughout the church. The “People” section collects stories about people in one large category.
The former categories of “God at work in the world,” “God at work in the church,” and “God at work in us” are gone, but running through all of the content is our belief that God is in fact acting among and beyond the individuals, congregations and organizations of Mennonite Church Canada. Some things never change: in the coming year, let’s keep watching for signs of God at work.
For those who like shorter reading, there’s a new section called “Et cetera,” a collection of tidbits submitted by our writers and staff. Other new types of content are in the works.
If your practice was to turn first to the back of the magazine to read the Young Voices section, you’ll notice it’s no longer there. That section, devoted to content about and by young adults and youth, began in 2011 as an intentional effort to share the activities, viewpoints, dreams and faith of younger Mennonites across Canada. Since then, 445 articles and blog posts appeared under the “Young Voices” label. Launched by Emily Loewen, the section was faithfully sustained and nurtured over the years by Aaron Epp and Rachel Bergen.
Many readers—especially ones with gray hair!—reported that they read Young Voices faithfully. Conversations across the church were enriched by the variety of perspectives that appeared there. On the other hand, there was always the recognition that the people featured in “YV” didn’t live in an isolated subsection of the Mennonite community. Having a separate spot for them in the magazine sometimes seemed artificial. As one reader put it, it felt like young adults were being relegated to the children’s table at an extended family meal.
Our commitment to hearing young Mennonite voices continues as strong as ever. But, in the future, their stories will appear throughout the entire magazine.
New people: Joining the columnists’ bench is Christina Barkman, who writes under the heading “Third Way Family.” She and her family served previously with MC Canada Witness in the Philippines, and now make their home in Chilliwack, B.C. In Ontario, Zach Charbonneau is joining the local reporters team and will write occasionally from the Leamington area. And we are happy to announce the appointment of Janet Bauman as the new Eastern Canada correspondent. You’ll read her writing and learn more about her in the next issue.
New delivery: Some of our readers have expressed—loudly and clearly—their hope that CM will continue as a print publication. We will honour that request in 2019 by publishing 22 issues on paper. But increasingly, readers come to the content through their desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones. So, in addition to the print issues, CM will also publish four digital-only issues, three in the summer and one at the end of the year.
The CM team welcomes your thoughts on these new directions. And more changes are coming.
Nurturing worldwide connections
Every January, Mennonite World Conference invites member churches to celebrate World Fellowship Sunday. Today’s feature on page 4 tells an inspiring story of peacemaking by Mennonites in Colombia, and on page 25 you’ll find a report of a Honduran congregation making a difference in its neighbourhood. To learn about how the worldwide Anabaptist family is growing in numbers, see “May God sustain us together” (“MWC census shows increased numbers”) on page 14.
Marlene Epp said, “Perhaps we need fewer Mennonite theologians and more Mennonite cookbooks,” as a humourous quip during a Q&A session following her keynote address at the “A people of diversity” conference in Winnipeg last November, and not as part of her keynote address, as stated in “Identify, boundaries and new ways of thinking,” Dec. 17, 2018, page 13. Canadian Mennonite regrets the error.