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Two people will replace Canadian Mennonite publisher/editor Dick Benner, who will retire March 31.
Tobi Thiessen, a member of Toronto United Mennonite Church, will serve as publisher in a half-time role. She will be responsible for the sustainability of the magazine, including business, financial, advertising and fundraising aspects, as well as relationships with funding partners Mennonite Church Canada and its area churches.
Thiessen holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, and an international MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto. She has worked in the field of Canada-Japan relations for an economic consulting firm and later for The Japan Foundation, and in both roles wrote English-language newsletters for Canadian audiences. More recently, she adapted a resource for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada called “Church Office in a Box,” providing guidance on running a church well.
Thiessen has been a member of the CMPS board for nine years, including serving as chair for six years. She currently sits on the board of the Toronto Mennonite Festival, a Mennonite Central Committee relief sale. Thiessen is fluent in Japanese and, together with her husband, Harold, is the parent of three nearly-grown sons. A cellist, she enjoys organizing musical ensembles at church, as well as teaching preschool Sunday school, gardening and sudoku.
As a member of the CMPS board, she says, “I enjoyed the face-to-face interaction with my sisters and brothers in the church. We were united in our shared purpose in the magazine, and yet had differences in theological perspectives or local congregational worship styles, etc. The differences enriched our discussions and even strengthened our ability to present a publication we can all share. As Publisher, I will continue to promote CM as a place for Mennonites to meet each other, inspire one another and dialogue with each other on issues facing all of us in the Mennonite Church Canada constituency.”
Virginia (Ginny) Hostetler, a member of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ontario, will serve full-time as executive editor, expanding the position she has held as web editor since 2013. She will be primarily responsible for content of the magazine and its digital products.
Hostetler grew up in Brazil as the daughter of Mennonite missionaries, and graduated from Eastern Mennonite University (then College) in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she worked on the student newspaper. She later did freelance writing and worked as an editor on various publications and curricula at Mennonite Publishing House. She spent several years in Israel, working in communications at the (Christian) Nazareth Hospital and later Nazareth Village, a re-creation of life in Nazareth in Jesus’ day. A dual Canadian/U.S. citizen, she is fluent in Portuguese and speaks some French, Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew. A lover of books, travel, singing and movies, Hostetler leads worship, does biblical storytelling and especially enjoys conversations around issues of faith and culture. She is continuing her education in digital publishing at Ryerson University, Toronto. She and her husband, Michael, have two grown children.
“The Mennonite church in Canada is discerning new ways to live out faithfulness to God’s calling. In this changing reality, Canadian Mennonite is committed to educating, inspiring, fostering dialogue, and building community among its readers,” said Hostetler. “Let’s encourage one another as we seek to share the good news of Jesus Christ from an Anabaptist perspective.”
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