Going home hungry: A summer editorial intern spills all

Kendra Litwiller of Hopedale, Illinois, spent May through July 2013 as an editorial intern at MennoMedia. Kendra is a rising senior at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., majoring in English with minors in Writing and Art. She is a member of Hopedale Mennonite Church.

Kendra_Litwiller_3174

Everyone knows that dinner follows work, for most people. You leave work and start thinking about what you will make. Chicken? Enchiladas? Chicken enchiladas? It’s most likely a given that there is food in your fridge and probably a family waiting to eat, hungry.

chicken enchiladas

Chicken enchiladas from Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog, used by permission.

While working as an editorial intern for the past few months at MennoMedia, I went home hungry nearly every night. Keeping information up-to-date is an essential step in maintaining fresh materials, and this is no different for the staff at MennoMedia. This summer, updates were necessary on both Extending the Table and Simply in Season, and I had the pleasure of taking both of these cookbooks in my hands to help with the changes.

Het Fang Sai Khaai

One recipe from the forthcoming revised Extending the Table cookbook,
a Thai egg/rice dish called Het Fang Sai Khaai
.

Hence, I was working with recipes for extended periods of time, all the while thinking, Oh, that sounds good. Recipes like Apple Spice Waffles, Fresh Summer Salsa, and Rhubarb Sorrel Crisp made my mouth water. By the end of a day, my stomach would be emitting growls that could compete with bears’, and my mind would be racking itself to remember if I already had ingredients to try something I had seen that day.

Blush

But more than the gnawing hunger pangs, I left each day with a desire to know more.  Whether this resulted from searching for an article about peace to post to Third Way Café, reading endorsements for Shirley Showalter’s upcoming book, Blush, or editing worship resources for Mennonite Church USA’s Women in Leadership Project, I was constantly aware that I was doing work that I loved but knew little about its technical details. Working with Melodie Davis and the rest of the editorial staff gave me the opportunity to put the skills I have to use in a new setting, and at the same time learn more about the role that editors play in making a company like MennoMedia a success.

When I started work at MennoMedia in May, the staff was in the beginning stages of renovating their Third Way Café website. Part of our discussions centered on the purpose of the website as a source of information on Anabaptists, who was important to reach, and why. After hearing others’ thoughts, I often left with my mind not only on the website and its purpose but on my own work and how it will affect people. My time at MennoMedia left me hungry to know how I can use my talents to provide people with great literature while enhancing their Christian lives. I left each day not only ready to try my hand at some tasty new recipes but eager to implement the knowledge I have gleaned while working this summer.

Kendra Litwiller

***

You can help support MennoMedia’s work through your gifts, purchases, and encouraging your congregation to use curricula from this publisher for two denominations, Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.

MennoMedia’s highlights from Phoenix

The theme of the Assembly was "Citizens of God's Kingdom:  Healed in Hope"

The theme of the Assembly was “Citizens of God’s Kingdom: Healed in Hope.”

I’m a first generation Mennonite who embraced the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective in 1997. My wife and I have attended each of MC USA’s seven biennial conventions since the denomination’s official formation. We attended Nashville 2001, Atlanta 2003, Charlotte 2005, San Jose 2007, Columbus 2009, Pittsburgh 2011 and most recently Phoenix July 1-5, 2013.

I always enjoy these events. Although, my congregation in Harrisonburg is very small, I revel in the large worship services and the presence of so many youth and adults. Sometimes I have been a delegate but most recently in Phoenix I was there as an employee of MennoMedia. My wife Chris came as a volunteer and helped with the children’s activities.

Mary Ann reads the children a book assisted by my wife Chris (wearing green) and Melodie (seated on the floor wearing black)

Mary Ann reads convention children a book assisted by my wife Chris (wearing green) and Melodie (seated on the floor wearing black).

I was glad to be involved in two workshops, one as a presenter (Parenting After Divorce with Kirsten Klassen, Gerald Mast; Melodie Davis, moderator) and another as a host (The Push and Pull of Movements and Institutions Within the Church, with Joanna Shenk and Mark Van Steenwyk).

I also worked at the MennoMedia bookstore, where we had a book signing for Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations and were happy to host two of the authors, Kathy Mclellan and Lovella Schellenberg; there was also a pre-release reading by two authors, Shirley Hershey Showalter sharing excerpts from Blush: A Mennonite Girl Greets a Glittering World, and Ervin Stutzman reading from Jacob’s Choice.

Kathy and Lovella sing there most recent book Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations

Lovella and Kathy sign their most recent book, Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations.

Shirley Showalter reads from her soon to be released memoir Blush while Ervin Stutzman looks on.

Shirley Showalter reads from her soon to be released memoir Blush while Ervin Stutzman waits his turn to read from Jacob’s Choice.

We brought nearly 4,000 items to Phoenix and sold nearly 2/3rd of them.

We brought nearly 4,000 items to Phoenix and sold nearly two thirds of what we brought. Talking to customers was always interesting.

One of the most significant parts of assembly was when Terry Shue and Nancy Kauffman, from Mennonite Church USA’s Leadership Development Team, called all pastors forward at the joint worship service on Wednesday morning to bless them. Terry and Nancy presented a three-fold blessing which included a prayer from Numbers recited while people seated in the assembly extended their hands toward the pastors in blessing. They gave each pastor a white ribbon which identified them as pastors and could be redeemed at the MennoMedia bookstore for $25 toward any item there. Many participants, including the pastors, spoke of how moving this gesture was for them. As pastors returned to their seats many ran a gauntlet of young people with hands extended in the “high five” position. Others were mobbed by their youth groups when they returned to their seats. One pastor’s reception (Nicholas Detweiller-Stoddard) reminded me of the major league ball player who hit a walk off a home run to win game seven of the World Series. Pastors said they felt deeply affirmed, while young people witnessed strong affirmation for those who have answered God’s call to pastoral ministry.

I also helped count both of the worship offerings. One of them benefited MennoMedia’s campaign to develop a new Anabaptist Sunday school curriculum for children called Shine. Those gathered gave more than $10,000 toward this initiative.
ShineLogo

If you’ve never been to one of Mennonite Church USA’s or Mennonite Church Canada’s biennial assemblies, I encourage you to go. They are not just for delegates. You’ll probably enjoy it even more if you aren’t a delegate. The worship and workshops are always great and of course there’s the attraction of a MennoMedia store which usually carries many new releases, sometimes at a significant discount. The 2014 MC Canada assembly will be held July 3-6, in Winnipeg, and the 2015 MC USA assembly will be held in Kansas City, also the first week in July. Maybe we’ll see you at one of these events!

SteveC

Steve Carpenter, MennoMedia Director of Development

A romance, a new merger – and a goodbye.

We had a much-needed fun break recently from the intense work of getting ready for the every-other-year massive marathon of the Mennonite Church USA Convention July 1-6, 2013 (intensified by MennoMedia’s fiscal year-end madness, coming June 30), in addition to our regular work.

KimberlyAndDorothy
Kimberly and Dorothy set out party food.

So we celebrated the upcoming wedding of Evan McCarthy, whom many of you have met through this blog, or on the phone, or in emails, or somewhere else. (See Evan’s most recent blog post on struggling through inventory.)

Arrival.We had a surprise shower! Heather, the bride-to-be, also surprised Evan in our lunch/break room.

It was a bittersweet occasion, though, because Evan left employment with MennoMedia as of June 18 to go to grad school. We will miss him.

_MG_9187
Evan in the warehouse in 2011.

He joined us when he was just a rising senior at Eastern Mennonite University the summer of 2011; he was hired one day, and by early the next morning left for a trip with two others to Scottdale, Pa. (the former headquarters of the Mennonite Publishing Network arm of the merger with Third Way Media that formed MennoMedia in July 2011).

They went to Scottdale to check out mail room equipment and gauge how big of move we were all getting ourselves into.

MennoBytesBlogPostBuilding 017
Mailroom equipment was moved and installed in the Harrisonburg shipping department.

Evan worked full time that summer, and part time while he finished his senior year as a business major at EMU. Then Evan began working full time right after graduation.

HeatherEvanGraduation
Evan and Heather at EMU graduation, 2012.

He had some great promotional ideas, as he helped to launch Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations through Facebook giveaways.

Amy Gingerich, Editorial Director at MennoMedia is all smiles upon receiving the just published Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations.

Amy Gingerich, Editorial Director at MennoMedia is all smiles upon receiving the just published Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations.

Evan also has a great gift for numbers, or metrics, which people seem to like to call certain kinds of measurements these days.

He helped us through many difficult challenges surrounding the merger, like counting books, finding places for them, dealing with the Acumen database for our store’s website, dealing with Amazon, dealing with Amazon.

He helped launch this blog—a task he enjoyed because it was a “diversion” from Amazon.

Evan in India

He also often entertained us at lunch with wild tales of the latest Bollywood movie he had watched. Both he and Heather spent their EMU Cross Cultural term in India, which they loved—and where they also grew to love each other.

A wedding is a merger of another kind with its own challenges. But with a shower of good wishes and a few gifts to start off their humble household (with Evan being a “poor grad student” at Virginia Tech and Heather an elementary school teacher looking for a teaching job in that area)—we know they’ll persevere as they go off into the sunset together.

LaughPinwheelDecorMomGifts

In a “goodbye” email he wrote to staff, “Working at MennoMedia and getting to work with each and every person here has been an incredible experience, and I feel very blessed to have had this opportunity. I’m definitely going to be thinking of you every time I see a Herald Press title on our bookshelves. Please feel free to keep in touch or contact me with any questions about anything I may have left half finished (my inbox is currently over 3,000).”

Best wishes and congratulations, Evan and Heather.

Hug

Do you have any words of advice for the young newlyweds? He’ll still be following this blog!

All MennoMedia office photos by Wayne Gehman, photographer.