The Witness magazine, ending a history of involvement in peace and justice issues dating back to its inception in 1917, is ceasing publication, the Episcopal Church Publishing Company (ECPC) board decided at its fall meeting in Washington, D.C.
The board decided that resources were not available to continue the online version of The Witness. The print version was discontinued in 2003. ECPC will continue, however, to "serve those who give voice to the demands that justice makes upon the churches," according to an announcement.
Newly elected president of the board, the Very Rev. Tracey Lind of Ohio, said that the overall tone of the meeting was quite positive. "We celebrated our long history as a voice for peace and justice concerns in the church, while bowing to the inevitable conclusion that we didn't have sufficient funds to continue." Lind said that the board discussed and endorsed the possibility that it could use the remaining funds to pull together some of the most outstanding examples of the publication's prophetic witness over many generations.
"Future generations must know what a crucial role The Witness played in speaking the truth to power and championing justice for all. We are a different church because of that ministry." Lind also pointed out that the ECPC itself continues as a corporate entity, "ready to lend its voice to future debate in the church over justice issues. It may even be open to the possibilities for publications in the future."
The Witness built a reputation of excellence over the years, receiving many awards from colleagues in the Associated Church Press and Episcopal Communicators.
The published materials of The Witness, in print and online, will soon become a part of the permanent collection of the Archives of the Episcopal Church, available at http://www.episcopalarchives.org/