In March 2004, Kathy Ide was asked by a client if she could recommend another freelance editor who might be able to work on her project. She realized that there must be editors out there who had different specialties and that it would be great to pass on jobs to one another. She knew of several organizations that provided networking for Christian writers but not for Christian editors.
Kathy contacted a few freelance editors to see if they would be interested in creating a group, and The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network was born. Its objective was “to provide freelance proofreaders and editors with a venue for cooperative competition through mutual support and the exchange of information, leads, and resources.” By the end of 2004, the PEN had an email discussion loop, a logo, a website, an e-newsletter, and online courses.
In 2006, some PEN members expressed a desire to have a network of established, professional freelance editors. So she created Christian Editor Connection with the sole purpose of putting authors, agents, and publishers together with established, experienced, professional Christian editors.
Both organizations grew. In 2012, Jeanne Marie Leach, one of The Christian PEN’s earliest members, took over the responsibilities of coordinating the PEN. Shortly after, Christi McGuire, an active PEN member, took over the daily operations of Christian Editor Connection.
In 2014, The Christian PEN held the first editors’ conference in Yorba Linda, California, something Kathy had dreamed of since God first gave her the idea in 2004. That weekend, we decided to make it an annual event. PEN member Jenne Acevedo offered to direct it, and we named it PENCON. Since then, our conferences have been held in Austin, TX; Colorado Springs, CO; Atlanta, GA; Grand Rapids, MI; and soon to be Nashville, TN.
At the first official PENCON, we brainstormed ways to update the PEN by changing the branding and creating a new professional membership level. Jenne Acevedo became the director of the PEN at that time. Then, through the incredible efforts of several PEN coordinators, we researched and planned for a new look for the organization, with added benefits and opportunities. In January 2016, we launched our Silver and Gold Membership levels, fresh branding, and a new website.
During our conference in 2016, Kathy, Christi, and Jenne spent hours with several people discussing the options for forming a business out of the organizations that continued to see amazing growth. Almost a year of planning became a reality in July 2016 when we established Christian Editor Network LLC as co-owners.
Education has always been a key part of what we do, so we created a separate division for it in September 2016. The PEN Institute, directed by Christi McGuire, features online courses and more learning opportunities for freelance editors, in-house editors at publishing houses, and early readers/editors who work for agents in the Christian industry. The institute offers courses, webinars, mentoring, and more. And PEN members receive discounts on our education.
Christian Editor Network LLC is now the parent company to four divisions: The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, Christian Editor Connection, PENCON, and The PEN Institute. Our mission is to equip and empower Christian editors.
Christi McGuire and Jenne Acevedo each have a passion for the Christian editing industry and continue Kathy’s vision. What began as a spark of an idea in March 2004 has become an incredible international organization with more than a thousand members and subscribers. The same spirit of “cooperative competition” remains in our motto. “The Christian PEN is dedicated to equipping aspiring and established editors with education, networking, and community.” Thank you for being a part of us.
Kathy Ide, Christi McGuire, and Jenne Acevedo
Co-owners, Christian Editor Network LLC