The Mennonite, a 16-page, 8 x 11 in. weekly, was the official English language organ of the General Conference Mennonite Church. Authorized in October 1885 by a resolution of the Eastern District, the paper was first conceived by N. B. Grubb, a Philadelphia pastor who felt the need of an English paper for city pastoral work, and A. B. Shelly, who desired something for the younger generation that did not read German. Until 1902 it was published in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, by the Eastern District Conference, although the General Conference adopted it as its official English language paper in 1893.
N. B. Grubb, pastor of the First Mennonite Church of Philadelphia, was the first editor of this paper, which was published monthly during its Eastern District tenure. After Grubb's resignation in 1892 A. S. Shelly edited it until 1902 while at the same time serving as pastor of the Hereford Mennonite Church of Bally, PA.
When the General Conference assumed publication of the paper in 1902, the printing was done in Berne, Indiana, while H. G. Allebach, who was living in Pennsylvania, edited it until 1905. I. A. Sommer served as editor 1905-1911, followed by C. H. A. van der Smissen 1912-1914. Silas M. Grubb, a son of the first editor and an associate editor for five years, held this position for 21 years, 1915-1936, the paper's longest editorship. He was followed by J. R. Thierstein 1937-1941, Reynold Weinbrenner 1941-1948, Jacob J. Enz 1948-1949, J. N. Smucker 1950-1961, Maynard Shelly, 1961-1971, Larry Kehler, 1971-1976, Bernie Wiebe, 1976-1986, Muriel T. Stackley, 1986-1992, and Gordon Houser, 1992-1998.
Beginning with Thierstein's editorship the paper was edited and printed in Kansas, the Bethel College Press, later the Mennonite Press, in North Newton, doing the printing. The printing continued to be done in Kansas, although after 1950 the paper was edited from the editors' home communities, which included Goshen, IN and Winnipeg, MB.
The Christian Exponent was absorbed by The Mennonite in 1929 and was maintained as a department until June 1930. In 1931 the Missions Quarterly, published by the Board of Foreign Missions, was also absorbed. During the depression years of 1934-1935 the paper was published jointly as a biweekly with the Christian Evangel, the official organ of the Central Conference of Mennonites, William B. Weaver sharing the editorship with S. M. Grubb.
Since the beginning the paper carried as its motto, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." This motto from 1 Corinthians 3:11 was to remind readers that the church's foundation is Christ, on whichMenno Simons built. The paper was devoted to the interest of the Mennonite church, and the cause of Christ in general. Its basic content consisted of devotional articles, general articles of information and inspiration, news of General Conference activities, including missions and relief work, and news of General Conference congregations and schools.
In 1923 the Conference asked that a page be devoted to the interests of young people. This has continued as an important feature. Editors of this section included C. E. Krehbiel 1923-26, Austin R. Reiser 1927-29, 1930-35, Amelia Mueller 1935-36, Bernhard Bargen 1936-39, Reynold Weinbrenner 1939-45, Esko Loewen 1945-53, Leola Schultz 1953-54, Lois Duerksen 1954-55, Maynard Shelly 1955-56, and Robert Schrag 1956- .
In 1948 a number of associate editors were appointed who were to serve as contributors and also as an editorial board. Meeting regularly with the editor they planned editorial policy, helped to determine and define issues, and suggested ways of improving the paper.
In 1951, The Mennonite and Der Bote, the official German publication of the General Conference, began to circulate under the Every Home Plan, which allowed each General Conference congregation to request a copy of either paper for each family. In return for this service congregations were encouraged to make a yearly contribution of $1.00 per subscription, though the subscription price for others is $2.50. The deficit incurred was assumed by the Boards of the General Conference Mennonite Church. The paper had a circulation of 15,000 in 1955.
In 1998, with the realignment of the General Conference Mennonite Church, the Mennonite Church (MC) and the Conference of Mennonites in Canada into Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, The Mennonite merged with the Gospel Herald to form a new periodical entitled The Mennonite, with volume numbering restarted. The last issue of the General Conference Mennonite was 27 January 1998 (volume 113, no. 2).
|Author(s)||J. N. Smucker|
 Cite This Article
Smucker, J. N. and Maynard Shelley. "Mennonite, The (1885-1998) (Periodical)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 26 Aug 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite,_The_(1885-1998)_(Periodical)&oldid=123180.
Smucker, J. N. and Maynard Shelley. (1957). Mennonite, The (1885-1998) (Periodical). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 August 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite,_The_(1885-1998)_(Periodical)&oldid=123180.
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