New magazine promotes conservative Anabaptism

Oct 10, 2016 by and

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As printed publications struggle to remain viable in the digital age, a new conservative Anabaptist magazine hopes to buck the trend by bucking subscriptions.

Anabaptist VoiceAnabaptist Voice’s first quarterly issue was distributed in the spring, and its third issue is due to hit mailboxes soon. Editor James Landis of Waynesboro, Ga., said he and some brethren committed to develop and distribute 5,000 initial copies at a cost of roughly $1.50 each, paid for with donations.

The group hopes donations will continue to support the endeavor and double the circulation.

The primary aim is to serve conservative Anabaptists — like the Mennonites and Amish who support Christian Aid Ministries — but the content is appropriate for all Christians.

“Thus far we’re reaching anybody who is interested in living out the gospel of Christ, and ‘Anabaptist’ is an umbrella term that includes Mennonite and Amish and Brethren,” he said. “. . . Our secondary effort would be those who are interested in the Anabaptist understanding of how to live out the Bible.”

The full-color publication has reflections on a variety of topics. Some recent examples include observing the Sabbath, church planting, death and dying, Bible studies, voting and poetry. The first two issues have yet to weigh in on dress and clothing.

“The readership of the new periodical will probably be many from what we call the scores of plain ‘non-conference’ or ‘unaffiliated’ Mennonite congregations,” said historian Steven M. Nolt, an expert on Amish and plain groups who is professor of history and Anabaptist studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and senior scholar at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.

Nolt said other sources of potential Anabaptist Voice readers likely include some Beachy Amish and Amish Mennonites, South Atlantic Mennonite Conference, Mid-Atlantic Fellowship and Midwest Fellowship, Pilgrim Conference, a scattering of Old Order and New Order Amish and some Old Order Mennonites.

“There may also be the occasional reader from other groups, but they would not be typical,” he said.

Editorial freedom

Landis said Anabaptist Voice differs from other publications because it isn’t officially affiliated with any church body, which means more editorial freedom. He’s not aware of any other Anabaptist publication that focuses in such a way on practical living.

“Living the gospel out, that’s what we’re interested in,” said Landis, who attends a South Atlantic Mennonite Conference congregation. “. . . We’re not promoting worship of the historic Anabaptists, but living out the gospel in the 21st century in the Anabaptist tradition viewing the scriptures through the distinctive eyes of the Anabaptist viewpoint.

“That is, that the gospel can be understood without seminary training . . . [and] can be lived out in our time. It’s a living thing, not a static traditionalism.”

One way Anabaptist Voice is working to move past that traditionalism is with full-color imagery and photos, unlike some other conservative Anabaptist publications. Landis’ goal is to make something attractive that is packed with content.

“It does up the cost, but . . . I don’t want to put something out there that people are just going to throw in the trash can or just read for a little bit,” he said. “So how do we have an interactive paper that involves people with lots of different folks writing in, raising questions and dealing with questions?

“A lot of people have said, ‘This paper makes me think.’ ”

Some material is online at anabaptistvoice.com, and issues are emailed around the world. The second issue already carried a response from a reader in Tasmania.

To donate or join the subscription list, contact the Anabaptist Voice production team at subscriptions@anabaptistvoice.com or 3287 Highway 201, Due West, SC 29639.


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