Who We Are

Broadview is an independent Canadian magazine featuring award-winning coverage of spirituality, justice and ethical living. As a registered charity, 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.”

Land Acknowledgement

Broadview acknowledges that our office is on the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishnaabe and the Huron-Wendat, the original owners and custodians of this land. Today, this place is home to many including a diverse urban Indigenous community of Inuit, First Nations and Métis.

Broadview’s values include LGBTQ2 inclusion, environmental sustainability and ethical investing, as well as increasing the presence of diverse contributors. Click here to learn more.

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 registered charity. 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 195 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, The Christian Guardian grew to 3,000 subscribers 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. 

After leaving his post with The Christian Guardian, Ryerson went on to serve in government. His work included writing an 1847 proposal that later became the framework for Indigenous residential schools. The residential schools were part of the federal government’s effort to assimilate Indigenous people into Canadian society. The Methodist and Presbyterian churches and explicitly supported the goals of assimilation and Christianization. 

In 1925, the Methodist, Congregationalist and the majority of Presbyterian churches merged to become The United Church of Canada. The United Church continued to operate 12 residential schools and two residences it inherited from its founding denominations until the last one closed in 1969.

Also at church union 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 two 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.