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The voice of the MB Church in Canada

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In black print on the cover of every issue of MB Herald Digest, you’ll see, “More than sixty years of sharing the life & story of the Mennonite Brethren in Canada.” Sixty-two years by my count, but don’t take my word for it, by most accounts, I’m still new here.

In 2018, I joined the CCMBC Communications team, and in that short time, so much has changed. Except for one thing: we remain the voice of the MB Church in Canada. In prosperous times and lean times, through harmony and discord, we strive to tell the story of the MB Church, hoping to unite us around a shared vision and experiences. We’re in this together, no?

After five years in this role, I can reassess and take stock of where we’ve been and where we need to go. Partly, this is forced upon me. Some of you will know we are undergoing personnel changes. If you’re not yet in the know, our board just announced our new leader, Cam Stuart. Long-time staff members Elton DaSilva and Kara Friesen have moved on to positions outside of CCMBC, and we welcome Communications Assistant Leanne Janzen to our small team. As the adage goes, the only constant is change.

As 2024 approaches, we plan to bring storytelling to the forefront and discover new ways to share your life and story with others. We’ve been asking big questions:

  • Are our chosen platforms and models the right ones? Are they accessible to the full spectrum of readers?
  • What new platforms can we leverage?
  • What stories have we yet to uncover?
  • Why are we calling our magazine a Digest? We’re publishing as many or more pages than we did back in our heyday.

We know that some things need to change to answer these questions and accomplish our mission effectively. We want to do more and do better, but there are financial and time limitations.

One immediate change we plan to make is to reduce the number of issues we send out in this “Digest” format from 12 to 6. We will publish in February and every two months after. At the end of 2024, we will reevaluate this model. I know “reduce” is not a well-liked word in this context. At first glance, it goes against everything laid out above.

The most common question we receive from readers is when we will return to the monthly printed format. I’m sorry, friends, I don’t have an answer, but I suspect it may never happen. Only if we find ourselves in a very different place financially will we be able to return to that model. I empathize with those who still feel this loss. We feel that loss, too.

Here’s another question: is MB Herald just a magazine? We say no. So, we push ourselves to think outside the pages. Here are a few ways we plan to do this:

  • Taking a proactive approach to connecting with MBs and telling their stories
  • Leveraging our website and posting more frequently ̊ Utilizing video and audio
  • Relaunching our long-hibernating podcast Taking a more active role in online/social engagement
  • More effectively meeting the needs of our partners so that we can better tell their stories

Much of our current time is spent on the nuts and bolts of the design and layout of the digital magazine. We value this vehicle and wish to uphold our high presentation and content standards. The reduced publication schedule is required to maintain this and create the margin for all we hope to do. We don’t assume this next phase will be seamless, and we are sure to experience growing pains. We also ask that you be patient and join us on this journey.

Please send your feedback, ideas and suggestions to me at carson.samson@mbchurches.ca.

We’re in this together!

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