The Christian Record Services for the Blind (CRSB) Board of Directors voted to implement a reduction in force on Thursday, February 11, following a two-day strategic planning meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska, in January. The Board engaged in an extensive, in-depth analysis of Christian Record’s operations and financial resources, which included, among other things, input from CRSB staff, field representatives, camping professionals, and Christian Record clients.
CRSB employees were informed of the reduction by Daniel R. Jackson, Board chair and president of the North American Division; Diane Thurber, CRSB president; and Shelly Kittleson, vice president for finance, in Lincoln.
“We deeply regret having to take these measures because of the pain that has been created,” said Jackson. “Dedicated individuals have given many years to the ministry. But we had no other option if we were going to preserve a compassionate ministry for the blind.”
The Board determined to restructure the organization by eliminating certain positions at Christian Record headquarters, ceasing print production—except braille materials which will continue—and ceasing current field operations.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to work alongside these faithful Christian Record employees who have become friends, and I am very saddened to say ‘farewell’ to some of the most committed, talented workers I’ve witnessed anywhere in my ministry journey with the Adventist Church,” stated Thurber. “These individuals and those who labored before them have laid the foundation on which this ministry can continue to serve the blind until Jesus comes and restores sight to people who are blind.”
Each departing employee will receive a termination settlement or severance along with other benefits.
“Though news of a termination is not what anyone wants to hear or relay, it was the Board’s goal to be fair, according to the Working Policy of the Church, and to go beyond policy when possible to ensure employees are well cared for,” stated Thurber. “Officers of the North American Division and General Conference voted special appropriations to strengthen the benefits provided to departing employees.”
While the restructuring reduces the number of Christian Record employees, it also eliminates budget shortfalls, reallocates funds to upgrade or purchase new equipment and software, strengthens some services, and allows Christian Record to implement new initiatives to reach more persons who are blind.
Mission with the Blind Continues
“It is Christian Record’s desire to expand its reach in the U.S. and abroad, and we recognize this will not be possible without the Lord’s guidance and blessings,” said Thurber. “We solicit the prayers of all Christian Record supporters and volunteers, and invite renewed support for this ministry so it can continue to help the blind ‘see’ Jesus. It is Christian Record’s desire to extend this challenge of engagement and inclusion to the local church, so all members can benefit from the joy of service, friendship, and fellowship with the blind.”
“Christian Record Services for the Blind has been and will continue to provide valuable spiritual materials and services for the visually impaired, by God’s grace,” said Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. “We pray that new and efficient methods of outreach will increase the special ministries for the sight-impaired as we approach Christ’s soon coming when we will all see Jesus!”
The Board also voted to sell Christian Record’s current facility and surrounding property and hopes to relocate the ministry to an appropriately-sized facility by early summer. Christian Record will continue to be headquartered in Lincoln.
Christian Record provides reading materials in audio, braille, large print, and digital download, Bibles and Bible study guides to persons who are blind or unable to physically hold a book. It also offers winter and summer camping experiences to hundreds of children and adults. To learn more about Christian Record’s services, how to extend the love of Jesus to persons who are blind in your churches and communities, or to donate to this life-changing ministry, visit www.crsb.org or send your donation to P.O. Box 6097, Lincoln, NE 68506.
To download resources for the Christian Record Annual Day of Giving (Annual Offering) on April 9, visit www.crsbday.org, or call 402.488.0981 x213.
Jeri Lyn Rogge is communication director for Christian Record Services for the Blind.