MennoMedia (Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA)
MennoMedia was formed on 1 July 2011 with the merger of Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media, then operating as a division of Mennonite Mission Network. The former Chief Executive Officers of the two merging agencies, Ron Rempel of Mennonite Publishing Network and Burton Buller of Third Way Media, retired and Russ Eanes, then Chief Financial Officer for Mennonite Publishing Network, was appointed as the new Executive Director.
MennoMedia retained the bi-national character of the Mennonite Publishing Network with three Canadian and five American board members. It operates as the print and media arm for Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.
Mennonite Publishing Network’s operations were relocated from Scottdale, Pennsylvania where it had offices for more than 100 years, to Third Way Media’s building in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Mennonite Mission Network gifted that building and allocated significant financial support to MennoMedia during its first five start-up years. The building in Scottdale was sold for $100,000 to serve a Christian congregation.
In 2015 MennoMedia had approximately 21 full time equivalent employees with offices in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Kitchener, Ontario, Newton, Kansas and Elkhart, Indiana. Additionally, several employees work from their homes.
During MennoMedia’s first three years it experienced financial losses due to operations, but also garnered considerable financial support from churches and individuals as it developed and rolled out a new Anabaptist Sunday school curriculum, Shine. Financial realities dictated two rounds of staff layoffs in the early years and a refocusing on the agency’s core mission of providing the church with the faith formation resources it needs to carry out its work from a distinctly Anabaptist perspective. In its fourth year it operated with positive operating revenues.
The 15 minutes radio program Shaping Families, which was hosted by Burton Buller and Melodie Davis, aired on approximately 20 radio stations in the United States and Canada between January 2010 and January 2013. It featured an interview with a guest around a topic significant to families and informed by Christian values. MennoMedia continues to sell CDs from the Mennonite Hour Broadcasts but is no longer producing new CDs in that series.
Loss of funding from the Odyssey Network also forced the discontinuance of major video projects. In 2011 MennoMedia released Waging Peace, its last solely-produced video project. In 2012 it released Weaving Life, the story of United Methodist service worker killer in Afghanistan, a project of students from Eastern Mennonite University. The DVD was released simultaneously with an accompanying book, Making Friends Among the Taliban, written by Mennonite pastor Jonathan Larson who also provided narration for the DVD. These two products highlighted the strengths of combining Third Way Media’s video capability with Mennonite Publishing Network’s print capability. Although both products were of award winning quality, neither found a large audience or financial success. Enormous changes in the ability to produce, consume and monetize digital and electronic media continue to challenge MennoMedia as well as all traditional media outlets, worldwide.
MennoMedia worked with a group of ten primarily Canadian Mennonite women who already had a popular cooking blog to produce two highly acclaimed and financially successful cook books called Mennonite Girls Can Cook and Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations. The first was a national best-seller in Canada. This was a continuing example of MennoMedia’s work at the intersection of faith and food in the tradition of the More-with-Less Cookbook, published in 1976.
In 2015 MennoMedia was working to expand its market among neo-Anabaptist and other groups outside the Mennonite church. One such example was the “Plain Spoken” series which gave voice to Amish writers and provided them with a greater audience. MennoMedia also planned to follow up on its bestselling The Naked Anabaptist, which successfully described the mission of Anabaptism in a postmodern, post-Christendom context. In 2015 MennoMedia prepared to embark on a new song collect project to explore what was needed to aid Mennonite churches in their singing and worship.
In 2015 MennoMedia continued to invest heavily in its flag ship web site Third Way, including a significant upgrade to make it easier to navigate on a smart phone. It also continued producing the Believers Church Bible Commentary series in cooperation with six other Anabaptist denominations. Other products for which MennoMedia is known are: Herald Press books, Leader magazine, Rejoice, Purpose, and the Adult Uniform series Sunday school materials.
|Author(s)||Steven P Carpenter|
|Date Published||February 2015|
Cite This Article
Carpenter, Steven P. "MennoMedia (Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2015. Web. 24 Feb 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=MennoMedia_(Harrisonburg,_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=131434.
Carpenter, Steven P. (February 2015). MennoMedia (Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 February 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=MennoMedia_(Harrisonburg,_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=131434.
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