Dear Friends,

Today, Beliefnet took a step that (ironic and farfetched though it may sound) should help us fortify ourselves and eventually thrive. We've filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Under Chapter 11, we will continue to produce the daily features you've come to expect and newsletters will continue to go out daily, as management lays the foundation for a fresh start. Chapter 11 will give us a financial breathing spell, so we can reorganize Beliefnet's debts and work toward a healthier future.

How did this happen?

Like many dot-coms, we hit a financial wall - financing dried up and the advertising market slowed down.

Unlike many dot-coms, we have many strengths that give us confidence Beliefnet can survive and grow.

  • We have an extraordinary group of contributors and columnists
  • We have an equally remarkable group of visitors and members who bring their experiences and wisdom to our message boards, dialogue groups and prayer circles
  • We have 5 million email newsletter subscribers and send out 150 million email newsletters a month
  • We were just nominated for the presitigious National Magazine Award for best website
  • We have extremely high renewal rates among advertisers
  • We have strong partnerships with ABC News, which cited us several times on its recent prime time special on the Catholic Church, and with America Online, which continues to give our features prominent display.

    One thing that has been extremely gratifying in this difficult time is the extent to which our employees and friends have stepped up to help keep us going. It's clear that for them, Beliefnet isn't just a job, it's a cause. Many contributors and columnists have been flexible and generous to us - getting paid less than they deserve, and tolerating our idiosyncrasies with good humor and patience.

    We are grateful to our writers, staff, and you -- the Beliefnet users -- for all that you've done so far to help us create this remarkable experiment in spiritual journalism and interfaith dialogue. I hope you will bear with us as we work our way through reorganization.

    What can you do? Keep coming. Religious misunderstanding is fueling so much conflict in the world today. There's never been a more important time to maintain a multifaith information source and virtual meeting ground. So keep participating in the dialogue here, check out the services offered by our advertisers, tell your friends & family about us, and help us continue building the world's largest multifaith website.

    With many thanks, Steve Waldman
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