With gentle authority and a warm smile, Allan Hux takes the pulse of the room. The retired high school teacher invites each of the 20 people seated on various couches and armchairs to share which article in the most recent Broadview issue they want to discuss. A lively conversation begins.
This is the Broadview discussion group at Fairlawn Avenue United in Toronto, where people have been meeting almost monthly for four years. It’s much like a regular book club, except the two-hour conversation covers topics as diverse as those in the magazine.
On the evening I attended, we talked about South Korean immigration, Islamophobia, church-run Indian residential schools and more. The articles elicited personal memories for some and strong sentiments from others. We all came away with a better understanding of the stories, having reconsidered them through each other’s perspectives. I also gained deeper knowledge of what some of our most avid readers want from our pages.
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Like spring crocuses, new Broadview reading groups keep popping up. We know of nine clubs in five provinces, with a few more in the works. Some meet in churches and others in coffee shops, restaurants or homes. We love the organic nature of people coming together around a common interest to form a small community.
In fact, Broadview reading clubs are such a fun idea that we want to help promote and support them. Maybe you’ll be inspired to join an existing group or form your own. If this idea interests you, go to Broadview.org/ReadingClubs, where you’ll find a list of current clubs and many tools and tips to help you get going. There are even opportunities to invite guest writers or editors to your meeting. If you do start a club, be sure to let us know so we can help get the word out.
Of course, we’ll continue to strive to assemble content that provides fodder for lively discussions. In this issue, writer Anne Thériault investigates how Mary Magdalene was sidelined in the Easter story — and discovers a powerful and nuanced female disciple. And writer Amy van den Berg looks at the struggle to preserve Indigenous rock art in Canada.
We’re hopeful that Broadview reading clubs will continue to grow in members and in number. In an increasingly polarized world, it’s inspiring to know that people are gathering together for thoughtful discussions of spirituality, social justice and ethical living. Happy reading.
This editorial first appeared in Broadview’s April 2020 issue with the title “Join the Club.”
Broadview is an award-winning progressive Christian magazine, featuring stories about spirituality, justice and ethical living. For more of our content, subscribe to the magazine today.