Who We Are

Broadview is an independent Canadian magazine featuring award-winning coverage of spirituality, justice and ethical living. Through our compelling stories and engaging images, Broadview challenges and inspires readers seeking to live a purpose-filled life.

Our spirituality reporting features Christian perspectives on belief and faith, as well as points of view from other religions and philosophies.

We cover social justice from local, national and global contexts, drawing attention to contemporary issues and our response as people of faith and as caring citizens.

Our ethical living stories offer inspiration and ideas on how we can all make a positive difference with our lives.

With Broadview, Editor and Publisher Jocelyn Bell aims to create an inclusive magazine and digital platforms for thoughtful readers interested in exploring and living out progressive Christianity’s core values. “We understand that this means being both introspective and outward-looking,” she says. “We are required to examine our beliefs and values, and to live and act accordingly. We are called to engage deeply with the justice issues of our day — and to believe that hope lies in caring profoundly for one another and for our planet.”

Founded in 1829, Broadview is the oldest continuously published magazine in North America, and the second oldest in the English-speaking world. It has won international acclaim for journalistic excellence and garnered more editorial awards than any other faith-based publication in Canada.

Broadview and Broadview.org are owned and operated by Observer Publications Inc., a non-profit corporation registered under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act. Observer Publications is an independent corporation. It sets its own policies, procedures and editorial programs while retaining an affiliation with The United Church of Canada. Broadview’s publication is supported by subscriptions, newsstand sales, advertising, donations, and grants.

Previously called The United Church Observer, The New Outlook and The Christian Guardian, Broadview is the fourth and current name in the publication’s history. Now celebrating 191 years, the publication remains committed to highlighting stories about spirituality, justice, and ethical living, as well as sharing news from and about The United Church of Canada, the country’s most progressive Christian denomination.

Broadview’s Backstory

In the early 19th century, leaders of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada wanted to reach members of their growing denomination across the country and, in 1829, started The Christian Guardian, with Egerton Ryerson as founding editor.

Starting with meagre resources, Ryerson guided The Christian Guardian to a circulation of 3,000 by the end of its third year. The publication came to be regarded as an important voice in the life of the growing country. As with today, it commented not only on matters of religion, but also education and political affairs. Ryerson went on to serve in government and is credited with founding the public school system in Ontario. He also helped develop the residential school system, whose disastrous outcome for Indigenous communities is now well-known.

When The United Church of Canada was formed in 1925, the Christian Guardian, along with similar Presbyterian and Congregationalist publications, merged into The New Outlook. In 1939, it was renamed The United Church Observer.

Since 1939, the magazine has had only six changes in editorial leadership: Rev. A.J. Wilson (1939-55); Rev. Al Forrest (1955-79); Hugh McCullum (1980-90); Muriel Duncan (1990-2006); David Wilson (2006-2017); and the current editor, Jocelyn Bell (2018-present).

The magazine was independently incorporated in 1986 with its affairs overseen by an independent board of directors. While it maintains an affiliation with The United Church of Canada, Broadview does not speak as the denomination’s official voice. The grant it receives from the United Church’s General Council represents less than six percent of its overall revenue. Broadview’s financial and legal independence permits the publication to comment freely on matters within and without The United Church of Canada.

By 2017, in response to feedback from its audience and in recognition of a changing media and religious landscape, the magazine’s staff and board members realized the need for a refreshed vision for the publication. In 2019, the publication was retitled Broadview, a name that connects with contemporary audiences and echoes the open-mindedness and inclusivity that defines today’s United Church of Canada. The magazine and its digital platforms position Broadview as the voice of Canadian progressive Christians and those who share our core values, now and in the future.

Masthead