By now, many of you have read my recent Missio Alliance article, Being Black, a Woman, and an Evangelical. At the end of that article, I briefly highlight several black women—whether they identify as evangelical or not—that have navigated the Christian and evangelical spaces, and what we can all learn from them.
One of the women featured in that piece was Nicola A. Menzie. Nicola is the visionary, founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Faithfully magazine. While Faithfully has maintained a presence through its official website and podcast, the printed magazine is a new adventure. Since I’ve read the first issue, I wanted to tell everyone why they should check this out.
I love that Nicola is using her gifts and passion to celebrate and center the voices of People of Color (POC)! This is not a magazine where POCs are contributing, only to have their voice censured and their history and culture edited out in order to make their stories easily digestible for the majority people group. These are the words as they have come directly from the voices, experiences, passions, and expertise of POC in all of their diversity…and every article does not center on race.
In addition to being interviewed for the first printed issue, I had the privilege of connecting with Nicola to hear her heart for the magazine, and why she thinks a magazine like this one—authored by Christian who are People of Color—is needed in these troubled times.
Natasha: Nicole, thank you so much for taking the time to share with my readers today. Can you tell us why you decided to take a leap of faith with a printed magazine, when so many are questioning the viability of the printed magazine business?
Nicola: Natasha, thank you for the opportunity to talk a little about Faithfully Magazine. It’s always an encouragement when others express excitement about what I am trying to accomplish with Faithfully Magazine.
I decided to take a leap in taking Faithfully Magazine to print for a few reasons, but primarily because I believed that format — as opposed to just a website — would garner the most interest for the audience I was trying to reach. That has been confirmed by a survey I conducted that revealed nearly 80 percent of Faithfully Magazine’s readers prefer physical over digital magazines.
Natasha: What is the mission or purpose of Faithfully Magazine?
Nicola: The mission/vision of the publication is to provide another platform for Christians of color to express their views, and be celebrated for their achievements and encouraged in their endeavors to do good wherever God has placed them.
Although Faithfully Magazine leans toward Christians of color, White believers are by no means excluded from the conversation, as a matter of fact, 52% of the readers for our printed magazine are Caucasian.
We’re all in this together. However, it’s necessary to emphasize that the central aim is to put Christians of color at the center, since for far too long our interests and concerns have been left at the margins, even in Christian media.
Faithfully Magazine distinguishes itself by emphasizing ethnic diversity in its coverage (many ethnic publications focus on a single group) and taking an ecumenical approach (to avoid tribalism).
As a Black woman, I also am sensitive to including women of color in coverage. Currently, 64% of our printed magazine readership is women.
The tagline for the magazine is “news, culture and Christianity…for the times” and the motto is “do good, obey God, stay woke” (my simplification of Micah 6:8).
Natasha: It is good to that you acknowledge the biblical focus on justice, as you indicated with the Micah passage. How has this endeavor been personally engaging or challenging your spiritual focus?
Nicola: The mantra that I use to stay focused is “think big, start small, iterate rapidly” — a variation on a popular startup saying I picked up somewhere. I also pray every day for strength, focus and creativity. Although massive funding would be helpful, I am grateful for the human and financial resources that always seem to come together at the right time.
Natasha: Nicola, you were able to take this leap of faith as a result of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Gathering a community of people who celebrate Christians of color has been a part of the ethos of the magazine’s inception. What are your needs right now?
Nicola: Right now, I am putting together a small advisory board that is almost complete and will be introduced on faithfullymagazine.com in June. We’re also working on issue No. 2, which will be followed by two additional issues by the year’s end. Unlike the cover story for the premiere issue, No. 2’s cover story will be a reported piece about an issue many Christians seem reluctant or unable to name right now, despite the fact that we’ve been suffering its negative consequences for centuries.
Natasha: So you are keeping us in suspense, huh?
Nicola: I encourage anyone eager to have more diverse, faithful perspectives on the issues of the day to subscribe to Faithfully Magazine. The print and digital formats are unique from the website, as each quarterly issue offers insightful Q&As, inspiring features and timely social, political and cultural commentary. Subscription and single purchase options can be found at faithfullymagazine.com/subscribe, with direct purchases available via Shopify at store.faithfullymagazine.com. Signing up for the weekly newsletter is also a great way to stay updated on developments and learn about new stories: http://eepurl.com/bPXr5z.
Natasha: In addition to my feature, this issue includes interviews and articles from the likes of Karen A. Ellis, Joshua DuBois, Samuel Rodriguez, Jo Saxton, Judy Wu Dominick, Tripp Lee, and Priscilla Shirer, just to name a few. It also includes important history lessons and commentary on contemporary issues. Please support this effort to engage the whole church in advancing the mission of God.