Kansas City-based Nazarene Publishing House, parent company of trade imprint Beacon Hill Press, will shut down on December 1. The decision was announced to members of the Church of the Nazarene denomination, which owns NPH, in a letter from its Board of General Superintendents citing “shifting cultural circumstances including changes in the church” that have resulted in declining revenues and financial instability for the 102-year-old publishing house.
Beacon Hill Press has published 35-45 trade books per year in the categories of ministry resources, spiritual growth, and Christian living, as well as books for youth and youth workers. It published 40 titles each in 2013 and 2014. NPH also has the WordAction imprint for Sunday School curriculum and Lilenas Publishing for music.
NPH has 60 employees, and although no details were provided about layoffs, the letter stated that announcing the December 1 date brings the press into compliance with the WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act), “a Federal law….[that] offers protection to workers, their families, and communities by providing notice 60 days in advance of large layoffs.” No layoffs will take place before December 1, and employees who remain until then will receive severance packages, the superintendents stated.
Barry C. Russell, sales manager, declined to comment on how the move affects Beacon Hill backlist sales and returns, indicating that decisions are pending and it is too early to provide any specifics.
The superintendents’ statement leaves the door open for the Church of the Nazarene denomination to resume publishing. A task force has been appointed “to help envision how holiness material will be provided for the future….NPH maintains resources that will help give birth to a new, dynamic publishing model.”