(Press release) The Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC) will begin serving as the official publisher of the denomination’s curriculum on March 1, 2018, under an agreement with the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) finalized this week.
Under the agreement, approved by the boards of PPC and PMA, the staff of Congregational Ministries Publishing (CMP) will become employees of PPC effective March 1, and PPC will be responsible for the development and sale of all existing and future PC(USA) curriculum resources.
“We joyfully celebrate this new opportunity to serve the church well through providing resources for Christian Education that are needed, wanted, and will be used by Presbyterian congregations,” said Marc Lewis, President and Publisher for PPC. “One of our first steps will be asking congregational leaders and teachers about what resources they use and why and to discover any reasons that they may be choosing to use resources from other denominations and publishers. We will first be carefully listening and then we will be responding with resources that will serve PC (USA) congregations”
“This is a good thing for the PC(USA) family,” said Ken Godshall, chair of the PMA board. “I believe PPC will continue PMA’s commitment to serving the broad theological spectrum of denominational curriculum resources.”
Lewis will provide direct supervision to this task. Earlier in his career, Lewis served as the General Manager of the curriculum publishing unit for the United Methodist Publishing House (Cokesbury) at a time when unit sales increased for several years after 17 years of decline.
As part of this transition, PPC Vice President of Publishing David Dobson will move into a newly created position of Associate Publisher, where he will oversee the day-to-day operations of the company’s book publishing, including editorial, production, sales and marketing, and operations. Dobson has been employed by the PC (USA) for twenty-five years and has served as the PPC editorial director and vice president of publishing for the past 10 years. Dobson has been a key part in helping Westminster John Knox Press in maintaining its status as one of the top religious academic publisher, becoming the leading publisher for preaching and worship commentaries and resources and in 2017 launching a new children’s imprint, Flyaway Books.
“The return of curriculum to the Publishing Corporation will allow both PPC and the Mission Agency to better focus on their strengths,” Dobson said. “Bringing the curriculum and book staffs together under one umbrella will create positive synergies that will lead to excellent and innovative new resources for the church.”
“The Presbyterian Publishing Corporation Board and Staff are pleased to have this opportunity to continue serving our PC(USA) family and friends by adding Christian education and curriculum materials to the long list of printed resources that we provide,” said PPC board chair Jesse Hite. “We recognize the importance of publishing quality materials for not only our English speaking readers but for the growing number of Spanish and Korean speakers that we will now serve. We pledge to continue our publishing activities in a way that will best serve all those who use our products.”
“Congregational Ministries Publishing has provided valued and faithful service to the church through the Presbyterian Mission Agency for many years. The Theology, Formation and Evangelism ministry area will miss our friends and colleagues in CMP, but I believe this merger with Presbyterian Publishing Corporation will enable CMP to experience vitality for many years to come,” said Ray G. Jones III, Acting Director, Theology, Formation and Evangelism of PMA.
“There has been a collaborative effort across three agencies to complete this project,” said Dave Crittenden, interim executive director of PMA. “I believe the final result personifies the historical passion that Presbyterians have for Christian Education.”
The responsibility for curriculum production, sales, marketing, and distribution was housed in PPC and its predecessor organizations until 1996, when the General Assembly voted to create a separate curriculum publisher within the mission structure (at the time known as General Assembly Council). Consolidating all publishing efforts into a single organization will reduce duplication of efforts, increase synergy, affect cost-savings, and allow for greater collaboration between publishing professionals within the PC(USA).
This move follows last year’s creation of PCUSAStore.com, a one-stop website and phone ordering system for all materials produced by the PC(USA), including books, curriculum, special offerings, Presbyterian Women materials, and more. PPC staff operates the PCUSAStore.com in partnership with PMA, OGA, and Presbyterian Women.
Lewis will continue operating as president and publisher while he leads the curriculum transition. Dobson will report to Lewis and the two will consult regularly on all aspects of the corporation’s business.
Story provided by Presbyterian Publishing Corp.