It was the fall of 1975 when I learned that Dick Farenhorst, editor of Calvinist Contact, was dealing with terminal cancer. I was an editor of a daily newspaper in Welland, Ont., and I had written in CC on occasion. On March 1, 1976, at the age of 26, I was appointed editor of CC by the board of directors. I moved the business from downtown Hamilton to a vacant furniture store in St. Catharines.
With my background in journalism, CC began to carry more news stories and features, covering church-related activities across Canada. We produced 48 issues per year, every week with the exception of the summer months. In 1976, a subscription cost $8. In subsequent years, it was increased to $10 and then $12. The late 1970s were a great time in Christian book publishing [so] CC produced two literary issues a year, spring and fall.
Alberta was in the midst of a major economic boom. That led CC to create a Western Canada office in Edmonton. We rented space from The King’s College in their earlier location where we had a staff of three. One of the technological highlights for the staff was the arrival of a fax machine. We just couldn’t figure out how a picture could come out of a phone line.
When it came to editorial content, I pulled together the editorials and news articles. We had a few columnists who wrote for us monthly and who stayed with the paper for many, many years. I recall a young elementary school student who had a flair for writing. That was Lloyd Rang. It was also a personal delight to hire my mother-in-law, Alice Los, to write a regular Small Talk column.
Because of our “ethnic” content, we qualified for government advertising and a number of corporate accounts too. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines regularly placed full page ads, paying for them one half in cash and one half in airline tickets. The tickets were handed out to staff as a bonus.
It has been a privilege to have been a part of Christian Courier’s history, a nine-year stint as a custodian of Christian journalism. There was, I think, a divine purpose in all of that. Editors come and go, and each one places his or her own stamp on the content and design. CC’s 75-year history is a story of God’s faithfulness and a chronicle of the Canadian Christian spiritual journey within the Reformed community.
When I took over CC, it was about to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Generations have come and gone but God’s story within the unique Canadian context continues.