(Illustration: Stuart Bradford)

Topics: Ethical Living | Society

Broadview’s top 10 posts of 2020

A variety of stories touched you this year


Thanks for sticking with us in 2020, readers. This year was a strange and difficult one, but we were still glad to be able to share inspirational and thought-provoking stories with you. Here are the nine pieces (and one resource) that intrigued you the most.


Jonas Cornelsen. (Photo: Christina W. Kroeker Creative)

10. Universal basic income could change more than how we work

This column resonated at a time when the temporary Canada Emergency Response Benefit sparked thoughts about the possibilities of long-term financial support for every Canadian. Calgary writer Jonas Cornelsen explored what he saw as the social and educational benefits of universal basic income. “…a future universal basic income would free me to do more things I find valuable, with less concern for how much I get paid,” he writes.


Stock photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

9. What is your spiritual type?

This fun piece introduced many of you to a new tool to explore how you express your spirituality and connect with worship. The quiz combines the work of Corinne Ware, author of Discover Your Spiritual Type, with the Myers-Briggs personality test to yield one of four types: a lover (focused on relationship), sage (intellectual), mystic (contemplative), or prophet (social justice focused).


(Illustration: Stuart Bradford)

8. A DNA test brought me a loving brother, but also more questions

In this moving story, Trisha Elliott took readers on a journey — of the complex feelings surrounding her adoption as a child, the shame and secrecy in her biological family surrounding her birth, and the joy of finding her brother Lorne. “I just always felt that there was something of my dad’s I was missing,” Lorne said, explaining why he took the DNA test. “Now I know it’s you.”’


Luc Ennekens (left) gives Toni Smit a kiss at their home in 2013. Eight years before, Ennekens, who has a mental illness, moved in with Smit as a boarder in Geel, Belgium. (Photo: Gary Porter)

7. Geel, Belgium has a radical approach to mental illness

Anne Thériault’s in-depth look at a teenaged saint, and the innovative community strategy that her legacy inspired, touched many of you. You can read it again here!


Researchers working close to the edge of the eroding coastline at Peninsula Point, N.W.T., in 2019. (Photo: Weronika Murray)

6. Thawing Arctic permafrost seems like a distant threat. It’s not. 

Many of us are aware that permafrost in Canada’s north is melting as our planet warms, but fewer may be thinking about the repercussions for those of us farther south. Susan Nerberg probed the issue in this feature story. “We’ve always managed to engineer ourselves out of problems, but when it comes to climate change, it may be too late,” permafrost scientist Chris Burn told Nerberg. “Even if we stop all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions right now, the warming will continue for some time.”


Adele Halliday. (Photo: Michael Erdelyi)

5. What I need from white people right now

After we learned in May that George Floyd had died while in Minneapolis police custody, we looked for guidance — we wanted to understand our role in systemic racism and what we could do to help. The prophetic ring of Adele Halliday’s piece and her call to people of faith specifically to recognize their obligation to fight racism resonated with thousands of you.


Clarence and Judith Pettersen on vacation in Banff, Alta. in 2016, before Clarence’s cancer diagnosis. (Photo courtesy of Judith Pettersen)

4. How my husband and I spent our final hours together

Judith Pettersen’s intimate account of the last day she shared with her husband Clarence is both a tribute to the medical assistance in dying team that helped him end his life and a reflection on losing him, even though she agreed with his choice. We’re not at all surprised that you loved it.


(Stock photo: Steve Buissinne/Pixabay)

3. Coronavirus comments expose underbelly of ageism, ableism

When Canadians first learned about COVID-19 early this year, they were anxious to find out whether or not they were at risk. But the relief of some who were not older, disabled or ill was also expressed as dismissiveness about the lives of those who were. Disabled writer Dorothy Ellen Palmer dug into that attitude in her incisive piece. “As if seniors, chronically ill and disabled people are disposable,” she wrote in response. “As if we can’t hear you. As if we aren’t your beloved parents and grandparents. As if we don’t matter and our deaths will be nothing but an inevitable and acceptable loss.”

Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash

2. Find a livestream church service here!

Pandemic restrictions have meant the loss of traditional worship and in-person church community. We knew that our readers would be looking for new ways to connect, so in March, we created a master list of virtual church services offered across the country. Its popularity shows that it’s a resource that you appreciate. Please send us a link to your church’s service, if you haven’t yet.


(Illustration: Emmanuel Polanco)

1. Unravelling the myth of Mary Magdalene

The woman who discovers the empty tomb has become the target of a lot of speculation, largely shaped by the male gaze. Anne Thériault dug through the mythology to try to find out who Mary Magdalene truly was and what characterizations of her say about the people behind them. This piece was your favourite this year.


Emma Prestwich is Broadview’s digital editor.

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Jocelyn Bell



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