Tobi Thiessen and Ginny Hostetler have been chosen by the board of Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service (CMPS) Inc. to lead Canadian Mennonite’s magazine and digital news services into the future, beginning March 20. The positions of publisher and executive editor, initially two-year appointments, will replace the former role of publisher/editor currently filled by Dick Benner, who will retire on March 31.
Tobi Thiessen, a member of Toronto United Mennonite Church, will serve as publisher, with primary responsibility for the sustainability of Canadian Mennonite (CM), including business, financial, advertising and fundraising aspects, as well as relationships with our funding partners: Mennonite Church Canada and the area churches.
As a former long-time chair of the CMPS board, Thiessen comes to this half-time role with a deep knowledge of both the national church and the mission and history of CM.
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. 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.”
Thiessen holds a bachelor of commerce degree from Queen’s University and an international MBA from the Schulich School of Business. Recently, she adapted a resource for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada called “Church Office in a Box,” providing guidance on running a church well and in compliance with Canada Revenue Agency requirements.
She has lived in Alberta and Saskatchewan, where she attended Rosthern Junior College, has served as a long-time church treasurer, a member of the MC Eastern Canada Administrative and Financial Services Council and as a member of the CMPS board for nine years, including 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 she and her husband Harold are parents of three nearly-grown sons. A cellist, she enjoys organizing musical ensembles at church, as well as teaching preschool Sunday school, gardening and Sudoku.
Virginia (Ginny) Hostetler, a member of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church, Kitchener, Ont., will serve full-time as executive editor, expanding on the position she has held as web editor at CM since October 2013.
She will primarily be responsible for content of the magazine and digital products, working together with the editorial team and correspondents across Canada to shape the news, features and reader interaction that have made CM a “village square” for Mennonites across the country. Her experience and ongoing effectiveness in drawing readers to CM’s content through social media will help position the magazine well for an increasingly digital future and a rapidly changing church and societal landscape.
“The Mennonite church in Canada is discerning new ways to live out faithfulness to God’s calling,” she says. “In this changing reality, CM is committed to educating, inspiring, fostering dialogue and building community among its readers. Let’s encourage one another as we seek to share the good news of Jesus Christ from an Anabaptist perspective.”
Hostetler grew up in Brazil as the daughter of Mennonite missionaries, graduated from Eastern Mennonite College (now EMU), 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 Canadian/U.S. dual citizen, she is fluent in Portuguese and speaks some French, Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew. A lover of books, travel, singing and movies, she 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.
She and husband Michael have two grown children.