I remember the call like it was yesterday. Cam Rowland was on the phone, offering me a job as editor of the MB Herald. That call meant a career change, a move across the country and a house purchase – without ever actually seeing the four walls that would become my new home! That call in 2005 resulted in epic life transition for me.
I’m reminded of another transformative call recorded in Luke 1. When Mary received an invitation to become the mother of our Saviour, her “yes” reverberated throughout generations. She became the vessel that would carry the eternal God onto the shores of temporal soil for salvation to be made manifest. The Orthodox tradition calls Mary Theotokos, or God-bearer.
But the call to be a God-bearer was not unique to Mary. We, too, are called to carry God’s image and message into this world.
“So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20, NLT).
As ambassadors, we do not come with a spirit of power and triumphalism, but in humility and weakness as fallible human beings. We bear God’s image in imperfect vessels – our words fail, our actions fall short and our knowledge is incomplete. And yet, somewhere between the cracks and imperfections, the light of God shines through to a dark world.
Heralds of good news
Here in the pages of the Herald, we’ve always sought to be ambassadors of that light. Our call is to be heralds – messengers – of God’s glory through all the ups and downs of modern communications.
Congratulations to associate editor Karla Braun for her first place prize in the CCP’s Letters from the Editor category for “Spun around” (July 2014). Congratulations, as well, to photographer Judith Voth for receiving second place in the CCP’s Feature Photo category for the November 2014 cover shot of her children Caleb and Anaya, and to copy editor Angeline Schellenberg for third place in the EPA’s Interview Article category for “Two jobs, one calling: The world of bi-vocational ministry” (July 2014).
These pieces are just a few examples of the ways the Herald has brought the light of God – the good news – into Canadian homes.
Heralds of a new era
As we move into the future, we recognize there are new opportunities ahead. We want to be heralds of that news, as well.
The Canadian conference leadership believes our family of churches is being called to a new direction and is seeking to build a communications strategy that is mission-focused, strengthens partnerships with provincial conferences and reaches as broad an audience as possible.
As of December 2015, the MB Herald will cease publication. In the coming year, we will launch a new print initiative that will rally churches around our mission to “multiply Christ-centred churches to see Canada transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ.”
“We want to build off a strong past while embracing new opportunities to engage all generations in God’s mission locally, nationally and internationally,” says executive director Willy Reimer.
“We know we will publish a new print piece in 2016,” says Reimer, “and are discerning how to facilitate other types of conversations around things such as theology, cultural issues and family news. Our goal is to deliver excellent communication with high impact, regardless of platform.”
As well, like many other denominations, we need to tighten our belts financially. Changes to government requirements for magazine funding have made it likely we will soon be ineligible to receive the grant money that has supported our print publishing in the past. The Canadian conference has also experienced a downturn in deposit fund transfers to ministry due to lower returns and increased finance costs, as well as flat church support, which have led to reduced ministry budgets.
With these realities upon us – and with a desire to be good stewards of God’s resources – we have decided to move to a bimonthly production schedule. This means the next issue readers can expect to see in their mailboxes is August 2015.
A time to mourn, a time to dance
We want to celebrate 54 years of God-bearing through the MB Herald – to remember the stories we’ve told that bring glory to God and to honour the community we’ve built with readers over the decades.
We realize these announcements may be difficult for some, so we want to set aside space in the next three issues to remember and celebrate the Herald’s ministry. Readers may also want to comment at mbherald.com/share-with-us or on our Facebook page.
Change is constant, but the call to be God-bearers remains. May we all faithfully bear God’s image to the world around us – whether it’s through the pages of a magazine, via social media, in a conversation with a neighbour, or in the choices we make about careers and finances.
May we all live a God-bearing life.
See also CCMBC news release: New publication to replace MB Herald
*See update on MB Herald’s future: Executive board continues Herald, plans survey
Updated August 21, 2015