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Mission Focus journal names new editors and plans new format

A joint release of AMBS, Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Mission Network

December 6, 2013

Three organizations and two new editors are collaborating to renew Mission Focus, a valued journal that is a voice for sharing Anabaptist-Mennonite experience, history, research and resources for the church in mission.

Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite Mission Network and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary will launch the renewed publication in 2014 as an electronic journal with print copies available on demand. New editors represent two of these organizations: Jamie Ross, International Ministries department assistant for Mission Network, and Jamie Pitts, assistant professor of Anabaptist studies at AMBS. A new name for the journal is still to be determined.

Mission Focus editors“My hope for this journal is that it will share reflections and stories of God’s redeeming and transforming work in and through ordinary people and through Mennonite and Anabaptist congregations in North America and around the world,” Tim Froese, Mennonite Church Canada, Executive Minister, Witness, said.

For Ross, the journal “will serve as a lively gathering place that allows for strengthened relationships between Mennonites and Anabaptists around the world—a place where our understandings of and practices in mission engagement are strengthened and challenged.”

Pitts agrees, adding, “As we rethink our mission and task in a world in which the center of Anabaptist faith has shifted to the south, Mission Focus will help us listen to global Anabaptists and critically reflect on our shared witness.”

An organizing committee consisting of representatives from the three sponsoring agencies has set a vision for the new Mission Focus that includes goals of providing practical, scholarly, reflective, visionary, energetic and useful content. A wide range of voices will represent many perspectives and experiences from around the world. Priority will be given to writers of Anabaptist persuasion or affiliation, while writers from other church and religious traditions also will be included.

The audience for the journal will be mission workers, missiologists, and missional pastors in the traditional Anabaptist denominations as well as in newer Anabaptist-associated movements. Ross hopes the journal will be a resource for laypeople and pastors, students and professors, missionaries and administrators. Froese describes the future readers as both curious and experienced, global as well as North American—those who traditionally might be interested in mission but also those who are not professional ministers.

The new format for the journal will allow broader distribution and will invite people from a wide range of perspectives, settings and experiences to engage the issues in the journal.

An editorial committee and the editors will guide the content of the journal. Members of this committee are Malinda Berry, Richmond, Ind.; Steve Heinrichs, Winnipeg, Man.; Matthew Krabill, Pasadena, Calif.; SaeJin Lee, Elkhart, Ind.; Gregory Rabus, Backnang, Germany; and Isaac Villegas, Chapel Hill, N.C. An advisory committee also will be formed to guide and evaluate the journal.

Mission Focus began in 1972 as a publication of Mennonite Board of Missions, a predecessor agency of Mission Network. When it became an annual journal in 1993, the Mission Studies Center of AMBS took responsibility for editing and publishing. Previous editors include Wilbert Shenk and, for the last fifteen years, Walter Sawatsky.

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Mary E. Klassen
Director of Communications, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary