This unfamiliar looking version of In Trust magazine that you hold in your hand is not a permanent redesign of our magazine. Full-bore involvement of our small staff in the launch of In Trust Online, our expanded, interactive web site, made it impossible for us to produce simultaneously a full Summer 2003 issue.

As an alternative we offer you this abbreviated edition that focuses mainly on step-by-step instructions for use of In Trust Online. Managing editor Mark Sullivan speaks here primarily to the computer-shy, but even those for whom internet surfing has become practically second nature may find a helpful tip or two.

When you visit the site, you may not even notice the quiet claim in the upper right hand corner of our banner that “We teach the leaders of North American theological schools the art of governance.” It’s a claim worth annotating. In our thinking, that “we” is by no means limited to In Trust’s staff or to experts with whom we contract from time to time to write for us, lead seminars, mentor schools on our recommendation, or carry out other assignments.

The “we” that we refer to is all of us. Peer education is at the heart of In Trust’s method. Every time a board member or school official answers a question posed by an In Trust interviewer or writes an article for publication in our magazine or composes a letter to “Soundings,” he or she is teaching the art of governance. And In Trust Online multiplies and simplifies the venues for those kinds of interchanges exponentially. 

We’re relying on you 
But—and it’s a big but—the widening of the informative conversation ultimately depends on you. It will happen only to the extent that our readers log on to In Trust Online frequently, create and join in discussions of topics of concern, propose articles, submit news announcements of interest to our community, compose the prayers of the day we are asking of each school, and pray the prayers that are submitted.

Some critics of the electronic communication revolution have attacked e-mail and its jargon as begetting yet another debasement of language. To my mind it’s done something quite different. It’s revived the practice of writing letters, especially exchanging notes. The speedy telephone destroyed most communication by letter. E-mail allows us to receive messages as fast as phone calls, however, and receive them on our schedule, at our convenience rather than the caller’s. And web sites like In Trust Online allow us to share our ideas simultaneously with many correspondents, not just one. In discussion groups, indeed, we are invited–-legitimately–-to read other people’s mail.

So In Trust Online is full of promise. Will you and the In Trust staff fulfill the promise? 

Growing with the times 

When you turn the page you’ll encounter the words of a new officer of In Trust who’s in no way a new name. “Wing on Wing,” as she has named her column, will be a regular feature of In Trust. On July 1, Christa R. Klein, one of our founders, accepted a call from In Trust’s governing board of directors and became In Trust’s president. As the organization’s educational activities had grown more complex, and with the addition of an interactive web site, it had become increasingly difficult for one person to function effectively as both editor and CEO.

I will be continuing as editor of In Trust magazine and In Trust Online, but it is with joy (and more than a little relief) that I yield many of my other responsibilities to this valued colleague. She has been part of us since the beginning and has thought as long and as carefully about what In Trust might grow to be as I have.

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