Managing editor’s note

[Above: Jennifer Woodruff Tait—photo by Dart Johnson Photography]

Almost exactly 31 years ago, I received in my college mailbox the thirty-first issue of a magazine I had just subscribed to (the old-fashioned way—with a check sent in an envelope with a stamp!). It was Christian History’s issue on “The Golden Age of Hymns.” 

Almost exactly 20 years ago, Chris Armstrong, at that point the managing editor of CH during its sojourn at Christianity Today, asked me to write a 450-word gallery piece on Oxford for issue #78 on J. R. R. Tolkien. (Until we hit issue #139, in which we profiled a number of colleges and universities, I think that was the only time CH had ever included a place in the gallery.) 

That request sparked a decade of my writing for the magazine and its associated websites. I still remember the time in 2008 that then-editor Jennifer Trafton sent me and Edwin to cover the Blessing of the Animals at St. John the Divine in New York City and someone brought a cockroach in a jar to be blessed. 

An awareness of Christian history is one of the most neglected but necessary ingredients in the spiritual diet of Christians today. . . . The Scriptures continually call us to remember God’s work in ages past and this must now also include the working of our Lord through the centuries since the Scriptures were completed.—Ken Curtis

Forty issues and counting

Almost exactly 10 years ago, after a short stint proofreading CH 100 and 101 and guest-editing CH 102, I came on board as the managing editor halfway through CH 104—my first full issue was 105. (That makes this my fortieth full issue as editor.)

Ken Curtis’s vision for the magazine, to share the story of the church with the people of the church, impressed itself on me at a very young age (19, if you’re counting) and I have never forgotten it—nor, I sincerely hope, wavered from it. 

I believed then, and believe now, that it is difficult to get where Jesus wants us to go without knowing where he has already led us. We serve a God who became incarnate in history, as Ken wrote in our very first issue. 

We especially thank three people for their contributions to this issue. James D. Smith III, professor emeritus at Bethel Seminary, and Joshua Robert Barron of the Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa contributed extensively to our lists of images and events. Max Pointner, our image researcher, wrote the main text of the issue (see p. 100 credits for more about Max).

As you look at this issue’s beautiful images, and remember the vision that has sustained this magazine for 40 years, may you remember God’s work in ages past and may you be refreshed with hope for years to come.  CH 

—Jennifer Woodruff Tait, Managing editor

By Jennifer Woodruff Tait

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #144 in 2022]

Jennifer Woodruff Tait is managing editor of Christian History magazine
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