Mennonite Publication Board (Mennonite Church)
The Mennonite Publication Board (Mennonite Church) was organized in 1908, and chartered in the State of Indiana. For ten years previous to this, conviction had been developing in the Mennonite Church (MC) that the denomination should own its publications. The Kansas-Nebraska Conference so expressed itself in 1898. By November 1907, when the Mennonite Church General Conference met at Kokomo, Indiana, nine conferences had appointed representatives on a proposed church-wide publishing organization. General Conference approved the plan and appointed three representatives. The Board was organized at Goshen, Indiana, on 8 January 1908, and elected the following officers: J. S. Shoemaker, president; Jonathan Kurtz, vice-president; S. H. Miller, secretary; Abram Metzler, treasurer. Shoemaker had served as chairman of the organizing committee, and was president until 1933. Succeeding presidents until 1956 included D. D. Troyer, M. H. Shantz, Simon Gingerich, John C. Wenger, and E. C. Bender.
The Board purchased the assets of the Gospel Witness Company and the Mennonite Book and Tract Society of Scottdale, Pennsylvania. It also purchased the church periodicals published by the Mennonite Publishing Company at Elkhart, Indiana. Publishing headquarters were established at Scottdale as the Mennonite Publishing House. The Gospel Herald was established as the official organ of the church and began publication, with other periodicals, in April 1908.
This Board in 1956 had a membership of more than 30, including representatives from all district conferences, from the Mennonite General Conference, and members at large. It met annually to hear reports, elect officers, and consider needs and policies. Between meetings its business was conducted by the Executive Committee. The Board produced and distributed books, periodicals, tracts, and educational materials. Its net worth as of 31 December 1956 was $1,019,223.72. It owned the publishing headquarters at Scottdale and retail outlets at Scottdale, Lancaster, New Holland, and Souderton, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; Kitchener and London, Ontario and Bloomington, IL. The general management of the affairs of the board was in the hands of a Publishing Agent, who was appointed by the Board. The Board was autonomous in its operation, but reported to the biennial sessions of the Mennonite General Conference. Officers following the 1957 election were: E. C. Bender, president; Clarence Lutz, vice-president; Harold Zehr, secretary; C. L. Graber, financial agent; John C. Wenger, fifth member of Executive Committee. A. J. Metzler was the Publishing Agent. Annual reports were published every year in the Gospel Herald.
In 2002 after the restructuring of Mennonite Church, the General Conference Mennonite Church and the Conference of Mennonites in Canada into Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, the Mennonite Publication Board was superseded by the Mennonite Publishing Network with a board appointed by Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 633. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Erb, Paul. "Mennonite Publication Board (Mennonite Church)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M467070.html.
APA style: Erb, Paul. (1957). Mennonite Publication Board (Mennonite Church). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M467070.html.