In Part garners second consecutive Award of Excellence from Evangelical Press Association

Spring 2011 edition of <em>In Part</em>

—For the second year in a row, In Part, the magazine for the Brethren in Christ community in North America, has won the Evangelical Press Association's (EPA) Award of Excellence for denominational publication category.

The magazine also garnered a handful of Higher Goals awards, including a third-place honor for Bishop Perry Engle’s regular column, “Parting Words”—his fourth consecutive win in this category.

Summer 2011 edition of <em>In Part</em>These prizes, which were awarded at the EPA’s annual convention in Colorado Springs, Colo., in early May, honor the best work done by EPA publications during the 2011 calendar year.

“In 2010, we were floored (and thrilled) by the news that In Part had garnered first place in the denominational category of the EPA awards,” recalls Kristine Frey, In Part editor. “Not because we didn’t think In Part was a quality publication, but because it had a smaller staff and a more limited budget than many of the other member publications vying for the award.

Fall 2011 edition of <em>In Part</em>“So to be recognized in this way for a second time in 2011 really communicates that the magazine is producing good work, consistently,” Frey adds. “This is a very validating moment, not only for the BIC Communications team but also for the BIC Church as a whole. We have a fascinating, exciting, and relevant story to tell as a community, and I’m so glad that In Part is creating a space for this exchange to happen.”

Altogether, In Part took home five awards for its 2011 issues:

  • Award of Excellence, Denominational Magazine: In Part
  • Publication Design: In Part (2nd place)
  • Standing Column: "Parting Words" by Perry Engle (3rd place)
  • Single Photo—Controlled: "The value of small" by Andy Bale (3rd place)
  • General Article—Long: "The end of AIDS?" by Kristine N. Frey (4th place)

In garnering these honors, In Part competed against a handful of respected evangelical periodicals—including Christianity Today, Sojourners, and World Vision Magazine―as well as other denominational publications.

Humble origins

Few could have predicted these significant accolades back in 2007, when In Part launched its first issue. The magazine was a reboot of Seek, which had debuted as the new denominational periodical a mere two years earlier. Unfortunately, a legal dispute meant that the Seek brand could not longer be used by the BIC Church. “Seek needed to transform, and quickly,” remembers Warren Hoffman, moderator of the Brethren in Christ Church. “We scrambled to find another name.” In the process, In Part was born.

Despite its unorthodox beginnings, In Part “has had a high standard of excellence in both content and design all along,” says Hoffman. With a mission to “invite readers into a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ within the context of the shared life and ministry of the BIC Church,” In Part has produced a high-quality publication “concentrated on illuminating our Core Values and vision priorities in new, creative, and biblical ways,” he adds.

“As our pool of writers and artists has expanded, we have been able to address a range of topics and involved a wider number of persons,” Hoffman notes. “Most of the credit, however, goes to our young, talented, creative, and committed team, composed of editor Kristine Frey and designers Nate Bridi and Will Teodori, and to those who have mentored and coached our staff over many years: Rebekah Basinger, former executive director of congregational relations; art director David Kasparek; and editorial advisor Rebecca Ebersole Kasparek.”

Seek-ing a new denominational publication

Although In Part began under unorthodox conditions, its predecessor, Seek, was initiated more intentionally. In the early 2000s, Church leadership realized that the long-running Evangelical Visitor, which had been chronicling the life of the BIC since its inception in 1887, was no longer reaching a broad audience. As Hoffman recollects, “Only a small percentage of our constituents, roughly around 20 percent who were actively engaged in the life of the Church, were reading the Visitor.”

The time had come, Church leaders determined, to launch a periodical that would continue to appeal to Visitor readers while also “reaching the other 80 percent”—people new to the BIC as well as those not otherwise engaged with the work of the General Church. This new publication would be delivered free of charge to every attendee of North America’s 250 BIC congregations.

“This was a radical paradigm shift,” recalls Rebecca Ebersole Kasparek, who was brought on by Hoffman to contribute to the development and launch of the new publication. A member of Harrisburg (Pa.) BIC and the then-editor for Messiah College’s (Grantham, Pa.) alumni magazine, Kasparek was tasked with envisioning a periodical that could be “inclusive of the diversity of the BIC and also educational for all readers about the theological Core Values of the denomination.”

Working alongside Kasparek were her husband David Kasparek, a visual artist and professor of graphic design at Messiah; Rebekah Basinger, then-executive director of congregational relations; and a steering committee of pastors and church leaders. Each of these helped to brainstorm a distinctive editorial voice, bold artistic style, and memorable name for the new publication. The result was Seek.

Looking back, Kasparek―who also served as launch editor for Seek's first issue―recalls that part of her editorial vision for the magazine was “to try to develop the best departments and content that we possibly could.” She sought to make Seek “compelling enough . . . that someone outside of the BIC could pick it up and find stories that drew them in.”

The new magazine also had a compelling visual style, as conceived by art director David Kasparek. “With the design of Seek, my goal was to communicate the values, goals, and mission of the BIC Church in a dynamic, dignified, and meaningful manner,” he recollects. Taking inspiration from the BIC Core Value of living simply, as well as from outside influences, Kasparek designed a premier issue that emphasized linearity and open space, as well as bright colors and readable fonts. “I wanted the visual language of Seek to be bold and interesting yet still be respectful [of] the culture and values of Brethren in Christ community in which it would function and serve,” he adds.

Honoring a heritage, welcoming new believers

The premiere issue of Seek hit church members' mailboxes in spring 2005. Early feedback suggested that the new periodical was reaching its target audience. “I am very impressed with the first issue of Seek,” wrote one reader. “As our [congregation] looks at planting a 20-something BIC church, I am excited to know that the denominational magazine will be an asset to this generation.” While some yearned for the return of the much-beloved Visitor, many others felt that the new magazine was just what the BIC Church needed.

In March 2005, a full-time editor―Dulcimer Brubaker―was brought onboard to provide future direction to Seek. (She was soon joined by a full-time graphic designer, Katie Geshay Hall, who was succeeded in mid-2007 by Nate Bridi.) A 2004 graduate of Messiah College, Brubaker brought to the publication an editorial vision that meshed with denominational leaders’ efforts to engage a broad swath of church attendees.

“My vision was really to introduce a lot of new ideas to a lot of people,” she recalls. “In the early 2000s, the culture of our binational church was shifting, and indeed encompassing many different cultures, as Spanish-speaking churches and urban congregations joined and were planted. Many new people across the denomination were not familiar with the larger beliefs and vision of the Brethren in Christ, since so many people had been grafted into our churches from other denominations, while many long-time attendees were unaware of the great work being done in our younger congregations.

“Thus, I wanted to introduce. To the older generation of lifetime Brethren in Christ attendees: there are new, wonderful people in our midst, and they have a lot to offer. To our younger, newer audience: the Brethren in Christ have some distinctive values—like pursuing peace and living simply—that can speak boldly into your lives as believers.”

Under Brubaker's editorship, Seek garnered positive recognition at the EPA's 2006 awards, where it won an Award of Merit for Most Improved Publication.

From Seek to In Part

In the summer of 2007, as Brubaker was preparing to depart the editorship, Church leadership learned that it would have to discontinue use of the Seek brand. “We were sad and embarrassed,” Brubaker notes.

Her successor, Kristine Frey, would be tasked not only with developing a new periodical name, but also with re-envisioning the publication as a whole. A 2007 alumna of Messiah College, Frey admits she was quite green in the gills when she assumed the editorship.

“I was a brand new graduate just beginning to learn about the BIC and the magazine,” she says. “Yet in my weakness, others were strong. Dulcimer, my predecessor, was hugely influential in laying a foundation and vision for the publication, and she contributed to the search for a new name. Warren Hoffman, Rebekah Basinger, Rebecca Kasparek, Dave Kasparek, Nate Bridi, and Devin Manzullo-Thomas were also invaluable in the process.”

The new name, In Part, initially suggested by Becky Kasparek, was derived from the Apostle Paul’s words in his first letter to the church at Corinth: “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (13: 12). According to Kasparek, “We hoped that the new name would convey the humble posture of desiring to know and follow Christ in this lifetime, while also recognizing our limitations as humans and anticipating the time when we will know fully and be fully known.”

The new name “served as the starting place for shaping the magazine as a whole,” recalls Frey. Working alongside Basinger and Bridi, Frey set out to pursue new avenues for the magazine while continuing the editorial tone and bold artistic standards set by Seek. At times, this meant making only slight tweaks to department titles; at other times, more substantial changes had to be made, such as designing a new masthead or initiating new departments.

“I really In Part not as a separate publication from Seek but as its continuation,” notes Frey. “It’s almost impossible to overstate the value of all those early contributors whose courage, insight, and creativity sparked Seek’s creation; In Part would not be what it is today without those initial investments.”

In Part debuted in the winter of 2007. The first issue, dedicated to the Core Value of Following Jesus, excited and energized readers. “Today, I received my first In Part magazine. I couldn’t put it down, but read it cover to cover. I greatly enjoyed all the writings,” exclaimed one letter to the editor.

Over time, more and more readers have embraced In Part as a source of teaching, examination, and exploration within the BIC Church in North America. More than one reader has noted that its unique take on various aspects of church life and theology has offered a “breath of fresh air”―a new way to look at familiar issues or topics. For instance, after one issue explored the Core Value on Pursuing Peace, one reader noted, “I applaud this issue! It presents my denomination by examples that truly resonate.”

Rooted in Core Values

For Frey, In Part’s success―not only in earning EPA awards, but in earning the respect and enthusiasm of the BIC community―reflects its rootedness in the Core Values of the BIC Church.

“Over the last five years, 84 people from across North America have written articles, 32 have created visual art, and hundreds of others have contributed to In Part through interviews and sharing their ideas,” notes Frey. “We strive with every issue to draw contributors from each of the Regional Conferences.

“Truly, In Part models what we mean when we say that we’re committed to forming a community of faith and to worshipping God with our gifts,” remarks Frey. “It is this willingness to serve as God’s witnesses that I think makes In Part such a dynamic and vital publication in the life of the BIC Church.”

Further reading