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The Story of
Cascadia Publishing House LLC
and DreamSeeker Books

Web Cascadia

In 2003, Pandora Press U.S., founded in 1997 by former Herald Press book editor Michael A. King as sole proprietor, shifted operations to sole proprietorship Cascadia Publishing House. Then in 2007 both sole proprietorships became divisions of Cascadia Publishing House LLC.

Under its various names, Cascadia, whose vision includes "valuing soul as much as sales," has emerged as a significant publisher of Anabaptist-related scholarly resources and of creative, fresh examinations of faith, history, and contemporary life from an Anabaptist perspective. The fruits of that mission are evident in the free-standing titles published by Cascadia/Pandora Press U.S. as well as those released in association with a number of significant Anabaptist series projects, some with roots going back decades, others more recently founded in an effort to support leading-edge scholarship.

Series projects include C. Henry Smith (CHS), released in collaboration with Bluffton College and Mennonite Historical Society; Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History (SAMH), also published in association with Mennonite Historical Society; Studies in Peace and Scripture (SPS), an Institute for Mennonite Studies series within which a number of Pandora Press U.S. books have been published; and the Living Issues Discussion (LID) series, a Cascadia/Pandora U.S. series dedicated to publishing studies which address "living issues" likely to benefit from serious study and discussion.

Among many which could be cited, an earlier SPS entry was the strong-selling volume 4, Violence Renounced: René Girard, Biblical Studies, and Peacemaking. Releases in the CHS series have included volume 4, Fixing Tradition: Joseph W. Yoder, Amish American, by Julia Kasdorf; Practicing the Politics of Jesus, on John Howard Yoder; and many more as listed in the CHS series page. Or in the SAMH series see volume 40, Writing Peace: The Unheard Voices of Great War Mennonite Objectors, by Melanie Springer Mock.

A key feature of Cascadia’s style of functioning, as evident in the networking with other institutions from which many of the series emerge, is collaboration. In addition to the organizations mentioned above, Cascadia books have been developed through various forms of collaboration with Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary as well as its Institute of Mennonite Studies, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Eastern Mennonite University, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Goshen College, Preaching Institute of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Lime Grove House (New Zealand), Messiah College, Mennonite Central Committee, MRN Ministry Resources, Eastern Mennonite Missions, the World Council of Churches through its Oikumene publications wing, and more.

Among titles emerging from such collaboration, to name just a few, are 118 Days: Christian Peacemaker Teams Held Hostage in Iraq (copublished with CPT); A Persistent Voice: Marian Franz and Conscientious Objection to Military Taxation (with Peace Tax Fund); Mutual Treasure: Seeking Better Ways for Christians and Culture to Converse (with Center for Christian Studies, Gordon College); Anabaptist Preaching: A Conversation Between Pulpit, Pew, and Bible (developed in association with Eastern Mennonite Seminary Preaching Institute); Creating the Beloved Community: A Journey with the Fellowship of Reconciliation (with FOR), The Heart of the Matter: Pastoral Ministry in Anabaptist Perspective (with Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary); and A Mind Patient and Untamed: Assessing John Howard Yoder's Contribution to Theology, Ethics, and Peacemaking (with AMBS and growing out of a Believers Church Conference hosted at the University of Notre Dame); Viewing New Creations with Anabaptist Eyes: Ethics of Biotechnology (with Eastern Mennonite University and growing out of a conference sponsored and hosted by EMU).

Because they represent so many layers of collaboration, worth highlighting may be three interlinked volumes, Seeking Cultures of Peace: A Peace Church Conversation, ed. Fernando Enns et al., Seeking Peace in Africa: Stories from African Peacemakers, ed. Don Miller et al., and Overcoming Violence in Asia: The Role of the Churches in Seeking Cultures of Peace. These books involved a four-way collaboration: publication not only by Cascadia and copublication with Herald Press (Overcoming Violence is not copublished HP) but also copublication with Oikumene World Council of Churches Publications—and Seeking Cultures in association with Mennonite Central Committee, Seeking Peace and Overcoming Violence with Bethany Theological Seminary, organizations which helped develop and support the books in significant ways.

To signal a distinction from the more academic or theological books released under the Cascadia/Pandora U.S. name, a DreamSeeker Books imprint has been established for projects more oriented toward story, poetry, memoirs, and topics of popular interest. Meanwhile
DreamSeeker Magazine, which publishes periodical-length versions of similar material, has generated this comment from United Press International Religion & Spirituality Forum: "The magazine takes on realworld issues in a manner that is hip, unsullied and often beautifully lyrical. These aren't your daddy's Mennonites, and yet the faith is every bit as strong, so you can't say the apple fell far from the tree either. Best to put our labels and concepts away and just call them writers' writers."

Early DSB entries were Evelyn King Mumaw’s The Merging and Daniel Hertzler’s A Little Left of Center. Among more recent DSB titles are Lee Snyder's At Powerline and Diamond Hill, Paul Peachey's A Usable Past, Truman Brunk's The Singing Junk-Man and That Amazing Junk-Man, Ann Showalter's Touched by Grace; books of poetry by Helen Alderfer, Leonard Neufeldt, Julie Cadwallader-Staub, Debra Gingerich, Ann Hostetler, Chris Longenecker, Cheryl Miller, Shari Wagner, Dallas Wiebe, David Wright; a novel by Shirley Kurtz; stories by Elrena Evans; and many more.

The vision for Pandora Press U.S. first emerged in 1995, when C. Arnold Snyder founded Pandora Press, Kitchener, Ontario, to make available, at reasonable cost to publisher and public, short runs of books addressing Anabaptist, Mennonite, and believers church topics. After Michael King was downsized from a financially challenged Herald Press, Pandora Canada provided inspiration for King’s shaping of Pandora Press U.S., whose name helped signal the support the two presses offered each other, particularly through 1990s mutual brainstorming.

The two Pandoras then worked out with denominational Mennonite publisher HP ways of joining the strengths of the three presses. The Pandoras tended to focus on high-quality, shorter-run books that might not otherwise be published. Then through copublication and codistribution arrangements with HP, they shared in HP’s ability to provide distribution and marketing support while enabling HP to support not only its own titles but also the wide variety of Pandora resources that fit the HP mission.

More recently, as HP options have shifted with the merger of Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media to form MennoMedia, fewer books are being copublished or codistributed with HP, as the majority of new Cascadia titles are released through Cascadia's stand-alone distribution arrangements.

Cascadia continues to nurture a variety of collaborative relationships with denominational organizations, including the Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre, which both loans and sells many Cascadia titles.

One reason for the 2003 changing of the Pandora Press U.S. name to Cascadia Publishing House was that the similar Pandora names risked portraying the Pandoras as wings of one company, when in fact they were and are fully independent.

A related reason for the name change was to highlight that Cascadia is guided by its own unique vision and mission understandings (for more on these understandings see "Publishing Like Ry and Emmylou Make Music"). This means its program has sometimes resembled that of Pandora Canada (and Herald Press)—but also blazes its own trail. And on a more personal note, publisher King reports that "The name Cascadia evokes such lovely U.S. sites as the Pacific Northwest, sometimes referred to as Cascadia; the Acadia region of Maine in the East; and cascades of shimmering living water—hinting at lovely, inspiring, and life-sustaining homes we hope readers enter when they read Cascadia/DreamSeeker books."

In 2007 Michael A. King established and became president and publisher of Cascadia Publishing House LLC. This is now the entity through which business is conducted related to DreamSeeker Magazine and Cascadia, DreamSeeker Books, and Pandora Press U.S. titles—all of which remain in print and continue to receive full promotion and distribution through Cascadia LLC.


Copyright © 2011 by Cascadia Publishing House LLC