Richard Thiessen of Abbotsford, B.C., has been named managing editor of the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO), succeeding Sam Steiner of Kitchener, Ont., whose terms ends this year.  Thiessen, library director at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, has been associate managing editor since November, 2006.  He begins his role in January, 2012.

The GAMEO board, meeting recently in Akron, Pa, also learned a DVD edition of GAMEO was in preparation. The edition of 250 copies was released in March 2011, and includes all of the encyclopedia’s content through Jan. 19, 2011. Steiner said the target audience for the DVD edition was conservative Anabaptist groups who utilize computers but do not access the Internet. Some copies may also go to Mennonite groups outside North America where Internet accessibility is limited. Steiner said the 2011 edition will be provided without cost, though donations would be accepted.

After extended discussion, the Board approved formation of a panel of consulting editors. Both internationally and North American-based, the editors will advise on larger subject areas like theology, history, sociology, and the arts. Steiner noted current subject articles in GAMEO are 20-50 years old. They will review existing articles in their area of expertise and recommend updates or rewrites. Barbara Nkala (Zimbabwe), Gerhard Ratzlaff (Paraguay) and Hans-Jürgen Goertz (Germany) are among the international consulting editors named.

GAMEO has also obtained permission to translate into English selected content from the Mennonitische Nachschlagewerke (MennLex V), an ongoing project of the Mennonitischer Geschichtsverein in Germany, and the Lexikon der Mennoniten in Paraguay, published by the Verein für Geschichte und Kultur der Mennoniten in Paraguay in 2009.

Work continues on expansion of GAMEO to include multiple languages. Two French-language articles are presently included in GAMEO, but fundraising towards creating a truly functional multilingual site continues. Steiner said about half of the required $20,000 has been raised.

GAMEO is a project of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, the Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission, the Historical Committee of Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Central Committee, and Mennonite World Conference. All work is done by volunteer staff, editorial boards and writers. It is freely available at www.gameo.org. It includes over 1,800 contributors and 14,750 articles.

--April 5, 2011