On the future of Barclay Press

“What’s going to happen to Barclay Press?” It’s a question I hear a lot. And the truth is that when I was hired as the new publisher, my goal was to keep the doors open for a year and then to try to do the same for another year. And so on. I’m 20 months in now, and I’m still giving people that same answer: I’m aiming to keep the doors open for another year.

In the meantime, we’re tracking long-term declines of several thousand dollars a year in our traditional curriculum lines – Fruit of the Vine and Illuminate – while production costs continue to rise; and we’ve seen cuts to our support, mainly for budgetary reasons, from the various yearly meetings that make up Evangelical Friends Church-North America.

How have we kept the doors open?

1) Part of the answer has been increased efficiency. We have fewer books sitting on our shelves, fewer unpaid bills, and a little more money in the bank. 2) Part of the answer has been increased production. We brought out three new books last year and are on track to publish four books and two e-books by Christmas. 3) Part of the answer has been you. A handful of you have faithfully sent monthly checks. We also received two cash gifts big enough to get us through some hard days this last winter and spring.

I send out this newsletter almost every week, and there’s a clickable link over in the right margin – Share Stories Change Lives. It takes you to a donation page where you can support the work of Barclay Press. (There are also some really cool historical photos!) Several of you have clicked on that link, and it’s made a difference. Here’s what your donation means for us:

  • A gift of $25 a month pays for the hours of one editor to work through a book-length manuscript.
  • A gift of $50 a month pays for the hours of all the writers involved in the production of one quarter of Illuminate small group curriculum.
  • A gift of $100 a month pays for the design and layout work to set up and produce a book.

We also do limited graphic design projects for Friends organizations, web support, and we sell books! We released Rhythms of Grace three weeks ago: “Biblically-grounded, theologically astute, and enormously practical – I consider this book a must for any pastor looking to sustain or regain the unforced rhythms of life-giving grace.” – Derek Brown, professor of pastoral ministry

Tomorrow, Danny Coleman’s first book comes out. Amazon was promoting Presence and Process early last week as the #1 new release in Quaker Christianity: “Presence and Process is an amazing book. It provides the best, most compact introduction I’ve come across to key concepts like mysticism, contemplation, and process theology.... And it invites practitioners to imagine a new kind of church for the journey before us.” – Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration

A year from now, people may still be asking, “What’s going to happen to Barclay Press?” And a year from now, I might still be unsure about much more than keeping the doors open. In the meantime, we’ll keep working on sharing stories and changing lives. Thank you for your support!

Eric Muhr