February 12, 2016

Christian Record Services for the Blind Announces Restructuring Plan

, North American Division

Following a special strategic planning meeting to evaluate all aspects of Christian Record Services for the Blind’s operations, the board of directors has voted to implement a restructuring plan intended to help the organization overcome heavy financial losses and maintain its ability to work to fulfill its mission of improving the quality of life of people who are blind.

The board’s decision to restructure by eliminating a number of positions and ending print production — with the exception of material published in Braille — and field operations was painful but necessary, said Daniel R. Jackson, chair of the board and president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

The board also voted to sell Christian Record’s current facility and surrounding property and to relocate the ministry to an appropriately sized facility by early summer. Christian Record will continue to be headquartered in Lincoln.

“We deeply regret having to take these measures because of the pain that has been created,” Jackson said. “Dedicated individuals have given many years to this important ministry. But in the long run, we had to make this difficult decision in order to stop longstanding financial losses and to ensure continued operation of this compassionate ministry for the blind.”

Christian Record, founded in 1899 by Austin Orlando Wilson, 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.

Christian Record employees were informed of the reduction on Feb. 11 by Jackson; Christian Record president Diane Thurber; and Shelly Kittleson, Christian Record’s vice president for finance.

“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,” Thurber said.

“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 where possible to ensure employees are well cared for,” she said. “Officers of the North American Division and General Conference voted special appropriations to strengthen the benefits provided to departing employees.”

Each departing employee will receive a termination settlement or severance, along with other benefits. 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 certain services, and allows Christian Record to implement new initiatives to reach more persons who are blind.

“It is Christian Record’s ultimate 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,” Thurber said. “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.”

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 ministry, visit crsb.org or send your donation to P.O. Box 6097, Lincoln, NE 68516. To download resources for the Christian Record Annual Day of Giving (annual offering) on April 9, visit crsbday.org or call 402-488-0981 ext. 213.