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Canada’s Christian Word Guild Association Becomes Independent

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MAIN NEWS HEADLINES
January 17 – January 24, 2008 Edition

Canada’s Christian
Word Guild Association
Becomes Independent

TORANTO, CA/1/11/08–The Word Guild, Canada’s largest association of writers and editors who are Christian, is celebrating its sixth anniversary this month by graduating from its position as a start-up project under Imago and amalgamating with the charity Christian Info Canada (CIC).

“It has been an honour for Imago to partner with this energetic group of writers and watch it grow in its vision over the past six years,” said John Franklin, the executive director of Imago. “Now that it is launching into a new time of independence, we hope that The Word Guild will continue to broaden its influence and serve as a model for excellence in writing – both within, and well beyond, the Christian community.”

The Word Guild – which encourages excellence in the art, craft, practice, and ministry of writing, and stresses teamwork among Canadian writers, editors, and publishers with a Christian worldview – has grown to more than 325 members from coast-to-coast, including more than 100 professional level members. Its momentum is having an increasing impact on Canada’s Christian writing, publishing and book retailing community.

“The Word Guild’s long-term goal is to impact the Canadian cultural landscape,” explained co-founder, N. J. Lindquist. “Our mandate of strengthening and developing the Canadian Christian writing and publishing industry fits well with CIC’s objective to provide increased communication within the Christian community.”

The Word Guild operated from 2002 to 2007 as a project of Imago, a registered charity that encourages the development of Christians in the arts. Christian Info was originally founded in 1976 in Alberta. During its first era, Lois Bromley ran an information centre in Calgary. Lloyd Mackey, a pioneer in establishing Christian community newspapers in Canada, reinstated the organization as a registered charity in 1996 (after it had become inactive) and changed the name to Christian Info Canada.

As Mackey explained, “During CIC’s second era, the major highlight was establishing Christian News Ottawa in 1997. Fellowship for Print Witness took it over from CIC, and the publication became known as ChristianCurrent Ottawa. And since then the newspaper has, in turn, morphed into ChristianWeek Ontario.”

In recent years, under the auspices of CIC, Mackey has produced the OttawaWatch newsletter, a ministry that provides commentary from an evangelical perspective on Canadian political developments.

As CIC enters another phase, a new board of directors will oversee the work of The Word Guild and OttawaWatch, as well as fresh initiatives. The board members are: John W. Irwin (a retired publisher, currently serving in a volunteer capacity as the director of Scripture Union Mexico); Les Lindquist (a consultant with IBM, who has served as The Word Guild’s treasurer since its inception and is now chair of the board); Denyse O’Leary (a freelance writer, editor and author with major credits in the field of faith, science and academia); Johanne Robertson (Publisher, Co-Owner and Editor of Maranatha News, a Christian newspaper); and Eric Spath (Manager, Speakers and Events, World Vision Canada).

“It’s very encouraging to see The Word Guild coming of age and finding a place of its own. Christian Info Canada is a natural home for an organization that is doing so much to strengthen our far-flung writing community,” observed Doug Koop, the editorial director of ChristianWeek.

“We are thankful for the Lord’s guidance and provision for us – as well as to Imago for helping us get established, and to Lloyd Mackey and CIC’s former board for welcoming us,” board chair Les Lindquist commented. “We’re delighted that The Word Guild has found a permanent corporate home within Christian Info Canada. This will give us a stable foundation from which to address the increasingly complex issues facing writers and editors today.

N. J. Lindquist, who co-founded The Word Guild, stepped down after six years as executive director on January 1st, and took the title of founding director. In this role, she will act as a consultant to The Word Guild’s leadership team, and work on projects involving the developing and promoting of authors. Cofounder Wendy Elaine Nelles, who previously had assumed the title of founding director, spearheaded the legal procedures for The Word Guild’s amalgamation with CIC and continues her involvement in projects such as directing the Write! Canada conference. N. J. Lindquist and Nelles previously received the national Leading Women Award for Excellence in Communications and Media in 2006 for their role in founding The Word Guild.

Sandra Reimer, who has been The Word Guild’s managing director since October 2006, and Denise Rumble, who has been The Word Guild’s associate managing director, will continue to oversee the day-to-day activities of The Word Guild, along with other members of the mostly-volunteer leadership team.

For further information about The Word Guild and its programs, see www.thewordguild.com.

BACKGROUND

The Word Guild is an association of more than 325 members, with the mandate of helping writers and editors at all stages connect with each other, develop new skills and discover new publishing opportunities. Members are committed to encouraging one another and fostering standards of excellence in the art, craft, practice and ministry of writing.

Three categories of membership, renewed yearly, are available: professional writers and editors; associate members who are beginning to put together a body of published work; and affiliate members, for those working in related fields such as publishers, booksellers, church librarians, etc. Affirmation of The Apostles’ Creed is required. Membership benefits include a weekly e-newsletter containing publishing news and marketing tips, a national Internet discussion group, and discounted rates for conferences and contest entry fees.

The Word Guild has realized a number of accomplishments since it was created in 2002. These include sponsoring writing awards programs and black-tie awards galas; professional development opportunities though the annual three-day Write! Canada conferences in Ontario and one-day conferences in other provinces; full-colour catalogues publicizing books by Canadian Christian authors; and exhibits at mainstream publishing tradeshows.