Guidelines For Leads
Queries are welcome and preferred. A query can save a writer much work
Length: 1,500 words maximum, excluding autobiography.
Topics: Generally, but not totally, open. To be negotiated.
First Use Only: We purchase only first-use rights. We do not own the material.
Series: Is possible, must be extraordinary in topic and writing skills, and be negotiated. Stand-alone articles are preferred even in a series.
References: Attribute briefly within the text; avoid footnotes.
Bible references/version: For references, use the full form (Romans). The NIV is preferred. If using another translation, cite which one (Romans 5:8 NLT).
Audience: The audience is generally, but not exclusively, EMC members and adherents with a range of educational and cultural backgrounds.
Style: Profound thoughts are to be said in simple language. Use inclusive language (humankind over mankind). Do not use Mennonite in a cultural sense except when linked specifically (German Mennonite). When using Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Cree, High and Low German, translation is needed. Keep paragraphs short; use two or three short sentences. Include some bold subheads to help the flow. See The Messenger for examples.
Respect: It is important that articles be respectful in tone to other parts of the Christian church and to people of a different opinion. Non-Christians read the magazine.
Format: We prefer crisp text, proper punctuation and spelling, one space after a sentence. Please do not send PDFs.
Approval: Unless extensive editing or revision is needed, we do not send back edited versions for writer approval. Our assumption is that both writers and editors do good work.
Autobiography and mug shot: Please provide a photo and information (e.g., active church link, education).
Photos: To be sent in colour as JPEG attachments, normal size, and at least 300 DPI.
Honoraria: $150 for 1,200–1,500 words, $15 for photos (excluding mug shot); the single fee covers payment for article appearing in hard copy and on the Internet (ISSUU and at www.emcmessenger.ca). Reworked sermons and reprints are paid at two-thirds rate (because they have been paid for previously).
Commissioned/Kill Fee: If an article, or series, is commissioned and then deemed unsuitable by the editor, it will, if not rewritten, be “killed” with payment at half-fee for the first article only.
Addresses: Please submit articles to email@example.com and include your regular address.
Guidelines For Letters
A distinction is made between letters intended or not intended by the writer for publication. Where necessary, the editorial staff will seek to clarify this. The magazine reserves the right to edit letters for length, style, legality, and taste. Letters to the editor should be 250 words or less.
Letters published are generally to comment on issues raised in The Messenger. Letters that do not represent official Conference positions can be published in The Messenger. Within a Conference comprised of various voices, the magazine is to encourage the “community hermeneutic” toward responsible Christian belief, teaching and practice.
To be published, letters by regular mail and by fax must contain a handwritten signature with at least the writer’s first and last names and an address. For e-mail letters, the writer’s name, e-mail address, and mailing address are together deemed to be an electronic signature. In all forms of correspondence, a phone number is helpful to clarify matters where needed. The writer’s name and general address are to be published. In sensitive matters, names may be withheld upon request or at the discretion of Messenger staff.
Some letters will not be published under any circumstances: letters that appear obscene, that are anonymous or unsigned, that appear to involve a personal attack, or that involve a legal matter.
Submit a letter to The Messenger.
Guidelines For Obituaries
There is no charge for publishing obituaries. Obituaries should be under 500 words (poetry and Scripture included). If submissions are too long, they will be returned to family to shorten where needed. Submissions should include a clear photo.
Guidelines For Church News
What is news? Building construction, conferences, pastoral changes, local graduates, children’s clubs, youth/women’s/men’s group activities, guest interview, ordination/commissioning, Christian service workers, church dedication, Vacation Bible School, new members, retreats/camps, annual meetings, testimonies. A creative angle is welcome.
Important legal matters:
- We prefer not to publish photos of minor children unless parents give their permission (VBS, camp, and more).
- Reporters are to seek permission of members received, people baptized, people ordained, for instance. (Just because people share their testimony locally among people they trust does not mean they expect that it will appear in a national magazine or on the Internet. We cannot assume it.)
- Photos of children who cannot be identified might be okay (the teacher’s face is seen, but children’s faces are not).
- The magazine respects legal realities; it did not create them.
How should the news be organized? Place the important news first. Remember the five W’s and the H: Who, What, When, Where, Why and (sometimes) How. Suggest a creative title.
How long is an article? 500 words or less. With a picture or two, this fills a page.
What about spelling? Please ensure the names of people, businesses, and places are spelled correctly: Dueck, Dyck, Dick; Bear Lake Bible Camp.
How often should a report be sent? Four reports per year are welcome by email (preferred) or regular mail.
How long before the report is printed? The magazine works about two months ahead. If you submit an article by March 8, for instance, it will appear in the May issue. The “next” issue is two months away.
Will all the photos go in? Unfortunately, we do not guarantee this. We suggest only one or two photos be sent with each report.
What if a report is missed? Focus on what is current or important. Given our publishing cycle, “old” news gets even older.
What happens to the report? It is edited as needed (tightened, rearranged or title added). In layout, a report might be cut to fit; we might decide between a paragraph and a picture.
What about pictures and captions? Do not send pictures that are unclear or have people’s eyes closed. Photos are to be normal size, high resolution, and sent as an attachment (not embedded). One or two pictures are adequate. Captions list people in order they appear, not man first.
What if a new reporter takes over? Let us know. Encourage the new reporter.
What is a reporter’s role? News is what happens and what people say about it. With churches holding similar events, there is room for creativity.
Anything to avoid? Clichés: delicious food, good fellowship, a good time was had by all. Ink that smears. Captions that do not identify people. Using Mr. and Mrs. instead of couples’ names. Too many exclamation marks. Use of &.
What if help is needed? Contact us: 204-326-6401; firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us your e-mail address so we can clarify details.
Your work is appreciated. Together we encourage our readers (Hebrews 10:24–25). Your work is appreciated. You have a solid readership of an important section in The Messenger. Thank you for working to inform us of what is happening within the life of your congregation. This is important to the life and work of our EM Conference.
The Messenger does not sell advertising. However, a limited amount of advertising will be accepted as a service to subscribers, as space and suitability permit. Only advertising that will better, edify and enhance our Conference, churches, boards and ministries, and that of the wider church, will be accepted.
Advertising is not to be for personal monetary benefit of any individual or group. It is recognized that a grey area exists: Some organizations, while officially for profit, operate to serve the Christian church’s membership and can be given some consideration. Further, advertising that is interpreted by the board as impinging upon EMC programs or institutions can be refused.
The magazine reserves the right to convert boxed ads to classifieds, to shorten material, and to pull an ad after it has appeared twice unless prior arrangements have been made.
Advertising in The Messenger is provided as a courtesy to readers, not as a right to any and all institutions. While the space is free to advertisers, it does cost the publication to run an ad and our expectation is that advertisers will strive to be courteous by notifying us as soon as possible when space for an ad is no longer needed.
General types of acceptable ads include (but are not limited to) the following: personnel needs (pastoral or for other Christian organizations), coming events for churches and affiliate organizations, recruitment ads for affiliated schools, books by EMC authors.