Nazarene Publishing House (NPH) and Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City will be closing as of Dec. 1. The announcement was made in an Oct. 3 pastoral letter to the board of general superintendents.
The general superintendents wrote that they were “deeply saddened” by the decision, but said that all NPH employees, of which there are 60, will retain their positions Dec. 1, with a severance package if they remain as employees through that date.
NPH has served Church of the Nazarene denomination for 102 years, offering holiness literature, music and resources. Beacon Hill Press has published 35-45 trade books a year. NPH has published Sunday school curriculum under the WordAction imprint and music under Lillenas Publishing.
The board also reflected on the “many profitable years” of NPH.
“A great deal of the income that has been generated through NPH has been poured back into the mission and work of the church, even beyond the walls of the House," the board said in the letter. "Recent years have been more financially difficult. Due to shifting cultural circumstances, including changes in the church, NPH has found itself having to adapt to new paradigms in order to maintain financial stability and sustainability. Net profits have decreased dramatically over the last decade to the point that the company was forced to draw heavily on financial reserves to stay afloat. The economic downturn of 2008 only deepened the pending crisis.”
The board noted that with the election of a new leader for NPH in 2012, “plans were laid for yet another change in paradigm for NPH, including the acquisition of a new business unit for NPH.” Unfortunately, the board concluded, “it did not work. It was a miscalculation on many levels.”
In the last year, steps have been taken to “rescue what we could,” the board said. A crisis management team is now in place, and a task force has been appointed “to help envision how holiness material will be provided for the future.”
The letter hinted at a the possibility of a future, new publishing configuration.
“While the current business model of NPH will be closing, this new way will continue to provide the necessary resources to educate and equip our pastors and laypersons around the world. NPH maintains resources that will help give birth to a new, dynamic publishing model.”
NPH is in the process of shipping the December-February curriculum and intends to ship the March-April-May curriculum in December.