Executive director of MennoMedia and book imprint Herald Press plans to resign

News release
August 11, 2017

Executive director of MennoMedia and book imprint Herald Press plans to resign

Russ Eanes

HARRISONBURG, Va.—Russ Eanes has announced his intention to resign as executive director of MennoMedia and its book imprint Herald Press, effective early 2018.

Eanes was named executive director to lead MennoMedia in 2011, when the new organization was formed from a merger of Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media and set up its headquarters in Harrisonburg.

Under Eanes’s leadership the organization expanded and revitalized its Herald Press book imprint, which saw a 20 percent increase in sales for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017.

In recent years the organization has copublished a new children’s Sunday school curriculum called Shine: Living in God’s Light. A highlight of that ongoing curriculum, copublished with Brethren Press, has been the successful launch of the Shine On story Bible.

Last year MennoMedia began work on a new worship and song collection, scheduled to be published in 2020.

Eanes has been keen on learning from peers and translating best practices in publishing to the ongoing work of MennoMedia and Herald Press.

Previously an ordained pastor, Eanes first begin specific work in trade book publishing with Plough Publishing 20 years ago. “Serving as publisher first with Plough and these past six years with Herald Press and MennoMedia has been one of the dreams of my lifetime,” said Eanes. “I love the business of publishing, being able to take an author or writer’s ideas and put them between covers, to work with creative editors, designers, and marketers,” he said of his work. He has also enjoyed in recent years collaboration with constituents and leaders across the Mennonite church in North America and abroad. “I will miss the many valued relationships with colleagues in other Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada organizations, area conferences and agencies. I will especially miss working with the wonderful staff that it has been my privilege to lead over the past six years.”

Eanes started at what was then Mennonite Publishing Network in 2007 as director of finance and operations. He oversaw the merger of MPN and Third Way Media and the relocation from Scottdale, Pennsylvania, to Harrisonburg. Eanes is currently president of the Protestant Church-Owned Publishers Association, a group representing the major denominational publishing houses in North America. “I especially have enjoyed getting to know and exchange ideas with my peers in other publishing houses,” said Eanes.

We are grateful for Russ’s deep commitment for producing quality resources for living Christian faith from an Anabaptist perspective,” said Lee Schmucker, chair of the MennoMedia board. “Russ has implemented many best practices in a fast-changing publishing industry, resulting in transformation of operations and marketing.”

Schmucker noted that under Eanes’s leadership, Christian formation resources and the Herald Press imprint have been strengthened and the market expanded beyond Mennonite churches and members. “Through his ardent attention to streamlining operations, overhead has been reduced and debt has been eliminated. Russ has served MennoMedia well during his 10 years of dedicated service,” she stated.

Going forward, MennoMedia’s management team and board are carefully considering how to reconfigure the organization to meet the changing demands of the church and the changing environment in publishing. The board and management will be meeting face to face at the end of September to finalize plans for leadership succession.

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MennoMedia Staff
Melodie Davis, news manager
MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@mennomedia.org

 

 

 

MennoMedia closing Canada office and distribution center

November 22, 2016

News release

Reflects changing church and publishing world

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ont.—MennoMedia has announced that it will close its office and distribution center in Kitchener, Ontario, in early 2017. It has maintained an office in the MCC Ontario center at 50 Kent Avenue since fall 2013; before that time the office was located for numerous years in Waterloo.

“This was a difficult decision. We have a loyal Canadian customer base, especially in Mennonite Church Canada congregations,” said Russ Eanes, executive director of MennoMedia and its book imprint, Herald Press. “However, as both the church world and the publishing world have changed, we have to change.”

The closing affects one full-time employee. Eanes added, “We are actively working to develop one or more partnerships with third parties that can continue to provide top-level service to our Canadian customers,” said Eanes. The staff and board of MennoMedia, in looking at costs, found that “it will be more cost-effective, with our limited resources, to work through a third-party distributor in Canada for Herald Press,” noted Eanes. He pointed out that a significant portion of Canadian congregations are already being serviced through a call and distribution center in the United States. “That will continue seamlessly in the coming months,” he said.

MennoMedia staff are working to secure new distribution partnerships in Canada, and hope to announce new partnerships before Christmas.

—MennoMedia staff

For more information on news release
Melodie Davis
News manager – MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@MennoMedia.org

 

Leadership: 5 ways to maintain the inner life in difficult times


Russ Eanes on a century ride with his son, Andre.
Russ Eanes and his son Andre enjoy cycling together.

Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.—Psalm 143:10

Maintaining the soul, spirit and inner life in difficult times is a challenge, though reading the psalms suggest that nothing is new.

What is new is the pace of change and the effect that it has on our inner being. I feel it especially these days in my work, but I am not unique.

In publishing and media, we face the daily challenge of keeping pace with new trends and technological developments.

At a recent meeting of some denominational publishing peers, one colleague put it this way, “You are behind every day that you wake up … everything that I need to know I will learn tomorrow.”

Such words can be discouraging; keeping awake and alert to rapid trends takes lots of time and effort and can easily overwhelm.

Since I am a denominational publisher, I also work alongside Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, where we face the challenge of declining numbers, fiscal challenges and draining conflict over issues of sexuality.

While I am called to my work and enjoy it, tending to the spirit and soul has to be part of my vocation.

While some people talk in terms of achieving a “balance” in life, I prefer to think of “grounding,” since it is so easy and quick to get out of balance.

When asked about what keeps me and/or other leaders grounded and invigorated, I can come up with a long list: prayer, rest, reading, the outdoors, exercise, family, celebration and laughter, journaling and solitude.

Here’s some essentials:

Jesuit guide1. Keep your soul fed. I feed mine especially through reading. My personal tastes include novels, history, social critique and travel. I especially like the “Spiritual Classics,” since they have passed the test of time. As a guide to spiritual formation, I am currently enjoying the very accessible and cleverly written Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin, SJ.

 

Take our moments2. Pray. For me this has to be every day, and hopefully more than once per day. A dozen years ago I began studying about and incorporating the use of the “daily office” of prayer into my life, even writing my own small, personal “office.” Office here is understood as a regular form and rhythm of prayer that is mostly corporate, but can be personal, too. I’m fortunate to be in a workplace each day where several of us now pause mid-morning to pray the office together, using our own Anabaptist prayer book, Take our Moments and Days. Prayer is probably the most overlooked and transformative activity we can do. It takes time and discipline. As Eugene Peterson says, the demands of prayer mean, “… entering realms of spirit where wonder and adoration have space to develop, where play and delight have time to flourish.”

3. Enjoy beauty. I’m a news junkie, but honestly, I find much of the news depressing these days. Lay that alongside work and vocational challenges and it’s easy to see too much ugliness. I combat that with a good, daily dose of beauty. I am privileged to live on a hillside that looks out over a valley. Each morning that weather permits, I start my day with a cup of coffee on my front deck and enjoy the light and cloud show that fans out across the mountains west of our home. Music, art, film and reading all contribute to my sense of beauty, but it’s the outdoors that does it best and it’s free.160137894

4. Let your spirit rest. Our inward selves and our minds need days off, just like our bodies. Try to do it in nature. In an article from a few years ago in “Adbusters,” Nicolas Carr (author of The Shallows) wrote: “A series of psychological studies over the past 20 years has revealed that after spending time in a quiet rural setting, close to nature, people exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper … when people aren’t being bombarded by external stimuli, their brains can, in effect, relax… The resulting state of contemplativeness strengthens their ability to control their mind.”

5. Laugh. Some of our family recently went to watch a performance of Shakespeare’s comedy, “Much Ado about Nothing.” Perhaps I was a bit conspicuous, but I laughed hard and loud for two hours and it felt good. Too often there is much in life to make us cry, but laughter can release our emotion in the same way.

We can find and hold onto “still centers” in the midst of storms of change, stress and conflict, but it takes work, effort, intentionality.

It won’t happen on its own.

For the year ahead, I pray for us all to have lives where, “play and delight have time to flourish.”

Russ Eanes of Harrisonburg, Va., is executive director of MennoMedia. This ran as a column in the February issue of The Mennonite.