Word&Way turns 124 years old this month — on July 9. And I’d say we look pretty good for our age! During that time, we’ve had just nine editors. Those are some pretty impressive tenures.
At this point I’ve only outlasted one of my predecessors — and I’ve still got about four more years until I can move into the seventh-longest spot. Five of our editors each served more than two decades, and one of them for 42 years. Wow!
And those editors impacted the broader Baptist life beyond just shaping Baptist thought by what we printed. One of our founding co-editors served on the drafting committee for the very first Baptist Faith & Message adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1925.
Five of them served as president of the Association of State Baptist Publications (and another one did after he moved to another publication). And they served in a number of other national and international Baptist roles.
It’s not just our editors who’ve impacted Baptist life. Several writers at Word&Way went on to serve as editors of other Baptist publications. And many of our staff served faithfully for decades with tenures as impressively long as those of our editors.
One of those is Ken Satterfield. I “inherited” Ken along with some furniture and this rich legacy when I assumed the role of editor in December 2016. With just under 18 years of service to Word&Way, he provided invaluable service to me and the institution in the transition as I came in when Bill Webb retired.
Ken brought institutional memory, commitment to the publication, and love for the churches and individuals who depend on us for information. Without him, I would’ve been basically blind when I started.
Unfortunately, Ken’s tenure at Word&Way came to an end on June 15 as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and global recession. I hope you will join me in praying for Ken during this time of transition.
Though he’s no longer on staff, he’s still been offering his assistance to Word&Way, and he’ll continue to write a monthly column for our website. We’re adding other monthly columnists there as well in the “Word&Way Voices” section, such as Greg Mamula, associate executive minister for the American Baptist Churches of Nebraska.
These are unusual times, indeed. Our website traffic has never been better as people are seeking news they can trust. While 2019 had been our best year with more than twice the traffic of any previous year, we already passed that total traffic this year on June 4. But clicks don’t pay the bills.
And these are trying times for religious journalism. Three Baptist publications quit printing already this year, following more than a dozen other Baptist publications in the last eight years. A few publications in other Christian traditions have also folded during this pandemic.
We need your partnership, especially in this difficult year. No other news outlet has provided more coverage on how different types of Baptists around the world are dealing with the global coronavirus pandemic. Word&Way is devoted to telling stories about Baptists that cross the denominational, ethnic, national, and ideological lines that too often divide us.
And our reporting doesn’t just give you information you need to know but also makes a difference. A Baptist leader in Cuba gained funding for a new mission effort because of a story we reported on him ministering amid coronavirus.
Additionally, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, a Baptist, changed his policy on religious exemptions to coronavirus restrictions in response to Word&Way — a move that not only safeguarded our historic church-state balance but might also have saved lives.
But we can’t do any of this without the faithful support of our readers and donors. So, if you’re able, please give to support the ministry of Word&Way. And tell your friends about us so they can get their own subscription.
Word&Way survived the flu pandemic of 1918-1920 with the support of our readers while we provided important coverage (like how wearing masks could save lives). I guess there truly is nothing new under the sun. That’s why I know we can survive another pandemic — if you’ll partner with us.