Last summer, as we were busy behind the scenes building our new website, we took a hard look at our mission statement. Printed on page 4 of every issue, you may have seen it before: “Established 75 years ago,” it said, “Christian Courier is an independent biweekly that seeks to engage creatively in critical Christian journalism, connecting Christians with a network of culturally savvy partners in faith for the purpose of inspiring all to participate in God’s renewing work within his creation.”
With our covid-related switch to monthly, “biweekly” was no longer accurate, and with our articles reaching more people online than ever before, we wondered if some of our phrases unhelpfully used “insider” language. How could we best express the vision of this unique publication? We hired a professional marketing consultant to help us find out.
Just kidding! Our CC editorial team brainstormed in pairs and in small groups – Peter Schuurman, Meghan Kort, Jennifer Neutel, Maaike VanderMeer and myself – for five months. We wanted tangible, clear language. We wanted to reflect what gets printed and what happens beyond the page, the Holy-Spirit connections and life changes that ripple outwards. Finally we settled on something we liked and sent it to the Board. They refined it further until it became the sentence you see here. This mission statement defines CC – independent Canadian journalism – and describes our purpose in three parts – inspiring action, building community and influencing culture for Christ. We hope you read Christian Courier, feel refreshed, and join God in renewing our world for his glory.
Angela Reitsma Bick, Editor
Deeper Reformed focus, wider reach
C.S. Lewis once declared that children should not be encouraged to read newspapers because “nearly all will be seen before they are 20 to have been false in emphasis and interpretation, if not in fact as well, and most of it will have lost all importance.”
Whew! Good thing Christian Courier was never a daily newspaper. Who wants to be on the wrong side of C.S. Lewis? Regardless, for years CC did publish weekly news from Reformed communities in Canada such as anniversaries and obituaries, alongside such sturdy fare as devotionals, media reviews, reflections on conferences, opinions on the intersection of politics and faith, thoughtful editorials on church and current events – the last not always narrowly Reformed.
Memorably, most issues up until the late 90s published those touching match-making Personals, often from lonely widows and widowers, who introduced themselves with hopeful trust. They were surely far safer, probably more honest, than today’s online dating sites. Such consistent, heartfelt content strikes me as of lasting importance in developing community memory and ethos.
Over the years, though, our mission and purpose have not so much changed as steadily developed deeper, more articulated Reformed focus and wider reach. Meanwhile readers and writers from traditions other than Reformed have joined the community. CC has gone online with weekly updates, attracting more readers across generations, while also moving first to 24 annual issues, now to monthly. We believe our new and briefer Mission Statement accurately communicates our goals and Hope to bring hints of God’s glory and shalom in print and online into your hearts, bodies and minds.
Thank you for reading. Do keep faithfully engaging and responding to our writers’ efforts.
Jim Dekker, CC Board Chair