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A ministry of paper and ink

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Christian Press partners with the Herald over 5 decades

Much has changed in the Herald since 1962, from editors to layout to content. But one thing has stayed the same. For five decades, Christian Press has served as the printer for our magazine.
Mennonite Brethren have always nurtured a vision for Christian publishing, with a “conviction that the printed page was an essential medium of spiritual nurture, evangelistic witness, and Christian education.”

It’s no surprise MBs set their sights on Christian Press (CP), a publishing house located in Winnipeg. It was already partially owned by MBs and serving as distributor of the long-running German periodical Mennonitische Rundschau. The national publications committee realized that full ownership of CP was the answer to launching an affordable English-language family paper. So, in July 1960, the Canadian conference bought out CP. It was a move that sparked debate at several annual conventions, and epitomized the MB entrepreneurial spirit.

When the Herald began in January 1962, nineteen people worked at CP. Printing was labour-intensive work. Operators worked with Linotype machines, which looked like giant typewriters and produced an entire line of metal type. Although this was much more efficient than placing individual letters on printing forms, mistakes were easily made.

Careful proofreading was necessary, so editors spent a lot of time either reading copy (upside down!) as it was being set in its form, or checking preliminary versions of the magazine, called galleys. It’s no wonder the Herald was located steps away from CP. After the paper was run through the press, the magazine had to be stapled by hand and prepared for mailing.

Eventually, technological advances allowed Herald staff to move a bit farther away from the printers. In 2005, the two agencies moved to separate buildings on the same lot, but still work closely together. CP now employs six full-time staff, and creates the Herald – among many other publications – using computer and laser technology.

The not-for-profit, non-funded agency of the Canadian conference is also a leader in environmentally friendly printing. In 2007, CP received Agfa’s environmental award for western Canada. Their plate-making machine doesn’t use any waste chemicals or water, they recycle more than 35 tons of paper and one ton of aluminum each year, use no developers, and send all solvents to an environmental control company for safe disposal. As well, CP uses only vegetable-based ink and encourages customers to choose recycled paper.

Here’s to another 50 years of a great publishing relationship!

—Laura Kalmar

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