A NOTE FROM THE BISHOP July 24 2022
“Bishop! Why in the world did you and MaMa Jo buy a Publishing Company?”
As almost everyone reading this knows, we own a wonderful Publishing Company called “The Parish Press.” The question, of course, often asked is why in the world would a Bishop and his wife with “retirement” on the horizon take on something like a publishing company? The initial answer is very simple:
We wanted to republish the books of the beloved Bishop Donald J. Parsons: Professor of New Testament and Ascetical Theology at Nashotah House, then Dean, and then the Sixth Bishop of Quincy. The Parish Press owned the rights to two of his three books, but for a variety of reasons the Parish Press was unable either to publish or republish books. After having a worldwide appeal as the only Anglo-Catholic Publishing company of its time (early 20th century) a staffing problem occurred and suddenly the owners in Fond du Lac Wisconsin decided to close the company and sell it. A priest in Kansas purchased it, and when he no longer was able to manage it, the very recently “retired” Bishop of Quincy and his dear wife, Joann, purchased it. The story of the acquisition reads a bit like a mystery book, and if you want the details, you should ask our dear friend and priest, Canon H.W. “Sandy” Herrmann, SSC, DD to explain it!
My dear wife and I had already founded a company called “Dove Tracts” and we had already produced quite a few books, DVDs, and tracts, including a book we wrote together, entitled “To God Be the Glory” (which has sold out twice and is ready for its third revision!) So, the Ackermans suddenly had a “blended company” that continues to grow. The need for instruction led us to produce DVDs - an Instructed Eucharist for Children and an Instructed Eucharist for Adults and How to recite the Daily Office in the Book of Common Prayer tradition. “Dove Tracts” presented a new means of helping churches, and the Parish Press would provide a “tried and true” product that could be taken into the next century. It was an excellent “marriage!”
Obviously once we did the necessary inventory of what we had purchased we immediately began the process of working with Bishop Parsons to republish his book “A Lifetime Road to God,” and some of the sweetest moments we had in our nearly forty-year friendship were to see him go over every page in his book and change a word or two. With Jo designing a spectacularly redone cover, the book was republished and continues to be one of the finest books available in Ascetical Theology (the nature of prayer.) We then acquired the rights to another book he had written on Sacramental Theology and the Eucharist, and along with his excellent book on the Gospel of St. John, “In Time with Jesus,” we had the “Parsons Trilogy!”
This led us to begin working with our friend the very well-known Bishop William “Bill” Wantland in republishing his immensely popular Confirmation Book, and working with a dear friend and priest, Canon John Heidt in producing his book. We were “up and running” and since then have published numerous books including the book by Bp. Jack Iker, the Third Bishop of Fort Worth, a book by the well-known English theologian, Fr. Arthur Middleton, a book by Canon Scott Wilson, and a Trilogy by Fr. Paul Sterne. We were also blessed to receive a manual typewriter manuscript of children’s Old Testament stories written by Fr. Homer Rogers for his children, and I stood back and watched Joann “do her magic” in producing this popular book for children. This has been so popular that we picked up where Fr. Rogers left off in the Old Testament, and we have a new book coming out very soon. The Rogers family has also made it possible for people to acquire from the Parish Press the remaining copies of what could be called “Anglo-Catholic Confirmation 101,” “The Romance of Orthodoxy.”
As we travel around the Church and go into the Narthex, the Priests’ Sacristy, the Altar Guild Sacristy, the Choir Room, and even the Nave, Chancel, and Sanctuary we see the Charts, Prayers, and Godly direction cards (“The Blessed Sacrament is Reserved, and silence and a genuflection…………….”) that have been produced for almost 100 years by the Parish Press. We see our Tracts in the Tract racks and in the little card holders in the pews. We even see, on the Nave walls, framed Stations of the Cross that we produce, and even a few Confessionals or “Confession areas” where the Confession card for the Penitent and Confession card for the Priest are prominently displayed.
We are honored, humbled, and delighted to own a Publishing company that is so unique and that has served so many people over the years. One of the things that is fun for us, is when we see our books in parish bookstores, our charts on the walls, and a kind question such as, “Bishop and Jo, would you ever consider printing a __________________________? We love hearing what people need, and with a publishing company that is noted for providing what no other publishing company does, we love the suggestions.
Take a moment out and go to https://theparishpress.com. You may find something you need, and you can be sure that each order is mailed with a prayer for the recipient!