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.
Mennonite World Review (MWR) Inc. and The Mennonite Inc. (TMI) 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, Kan., 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 and website, by September 2020.
The journalistic vision 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. 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 to be “a forum for Mennonite voices.”
The name of the new organization and title of the magazine have not been decided.
Sheldon 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, president of the MWR Inc. board, 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.”