Brethren Journal Association Reports on Strategic Plan for ‘Brethren Life and Thought’

By Karen Garrett

The photographer takes an overhead view of the Brethren Journal Association lunch, which doubles as the annual meeting. Photographs by Regina Holmes

Brethren Life and Thought editor Julie Garber displays a copy of the journal, while Frank Ramirez looks on.

The Brethren Journal Association (BJA) met July 4 for its annual luncheon meeting, with approximately 55 people in attendance. Announced presenter Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm had to cancel due to health concerns.

The BJA board chose to use the program time for an expanded report. The annual meeting is for the member/subscribers to “Brethren Life and Thought” to affirm the BJA budget and name persons to the board.

This year the board shared a proposed strategic plan for the future of the journal “Brethren Life and Thought.” The strategic plan focuses on the following changes and approaches for future growth.

Starting with Vol. 56, No. 1, “Brethren Life and Thought” will move from a quarterly publication to a semi annual publication. The journal will still publish approximately the same number of articles as when publishing quarterly.

The journal is beginning the process of publishing a portion of the articles using a peer review process. Editor Julie Garber explained that the journal will use a double blind peer review, which means that neither the author nor the peers who review the article will know each others’ names. Since only part of the articles in any issue will be peer reviewed, an icon will be used so that researchers may know which articles were peer reviewed. It is hoped that moving to peer review will appeal to Brethren, Mennonite, and other Anabaptist scholars. Poems, short essays, and other short articles will continue to be published along with the peer reviewed articles.

The BJA board anticipates using digital media forums such as Facebook to connect new readers to the content of the journal. The board also is exploring hosting a blog where articles can be posted and responded to, and where short articles, images, and other media such as videos can be published that might not work as well in the print journal.

In other business, the 2011-12 budget was affirmed. Mike Hostetter, Haley Goodwin, and Denise Kettering Lane were confirmed for second terms on the board.

Coverage of the 2011 Annual Conference is by the News Team of Jan Fischer-Bachman, Mandy Garcia, Karen Garrett, Amy Heckert, Regina Holmes, Frank Ramirez, Glenn Riegel, Frances Townsend, and editor and news director Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford. Wendy McFadden serves as executive director of Brethren Press. Contact

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