2021 marked our third year as Broadview, and allowed us to share even more great journalism with you. We can tell which stories resonated with our online readers the most by tracking clicks, and we find it fascinating to look at which of our original pieces were the most popular. We thought you might find it interesting, too. Thanks for reading this year.
10. What went wrong when one Bancroft, Ont. United church opened a shelter
Homelessness in Canada is not only an urban issue. Rural communities are facing a housing crisis, too. Nowhere is that more apparent than in Bancroft, Ont., a small town in cottage country that is seeing a surge in property values. The town asked Rev. Lynn Watson and the local St. Paul’s United to help, which they were only too eager to do. But their shelter, which opened in 2019, faced some issues right away. Watson’s honest words in this piece and her call to action resonated with many of our readers.
9. United Church’s 1st Indigenous moderator on why UCC’s apologies fell short
As unmarked graves of Indigenous children who died at former residential schools were revealed across the country this spring, our thoughts turned to the United Church’s response — not just at the moment but historically. In 1986, under Moderator Bob Smith, the church apologized for its role in colonization, and in 1998, the institution specifically apologized for its involvement in running residential schools. The Very Rev. Stan McKay, who served as moderator in the early 1990s, was part of those efforts. And yet, decades on, he feels like they weren’t enough. His unapologetic reflection struck us and, it seems, many of you too.
8. Is the United Church going to disappear?
Discussions about the fate of the country’s largest Protestant denomination aren’t new. Some might say that rumours of its death are greatly exaggerated, but membership has continued to decline for decades and churches close every day. In the December 2021 edition of his regular Question Box column, United Church minister Rev. Christopher White gently reassures this reader who worries that the end is near. Understandably, many of you were interested in clicking through to find out White’s answer.
7. Why I left Christian Science
In our powerful September cover story, writer Louise Kinross, who now writes a blog at a hospital that serves children with disabilities, explored how her childhood religion taught that good, spiritual thoughts led to health. She critiques the narratives that she was raised with and details the life event that challenged these perceptions. But her story also chronicles the difficulty of unlearning childhood beliefs. Hers was a non-linear journey that took years. We suspect it fascinated many of you who knew little about Christian Science and were intrigued by her journey.
6. I was devoted to Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll’s sermons — now I’m a proud feminist
Brianna Bell pitched this piece as she was listening to a podcast about the evangelical megachurch called “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill.” We think it resonated with those of you who were interested in reading more about Mars Hill and critiquing the culture and theology of the church.
5. Once a dead religion, Moorish Science is seeing a curious resurgence
Another story in the “I knew little about this” category, writer Omar Mouallem’s thoughtful dive into a niche religious community was wide-ranging and critical but also non-judgmental. His genuine curiosity about this obscure group translated into a great piece that many of you wanted to read.
4. The meaning behind orange shirts for the Kamloops residential school victims
Schools and institutions have observed Orange Shirt Day for several years, but in the wake of the discovery of unmarked graves at a former residential school site in Kamloops, B.C., former assistant digital editor Brian Trinh quickly pulled together this great explainer that received a lot of Google search traffic from people looking to learn more about its meaning.
3. Chiamaka Okoli was a rarity in physics. She challenged norms until her untimely death.
You might never have heard of Chiamaka Okoli before the publication of this story. We hadn’t either. A rising star in the field of physics, thousands might not have known her story if writer Ashley Okwuosa hadn’t brought it to our attention this year. We’re so glad she did.
2. Margaret Atwood’s stance shows her lack of respect for trans people
When the iconic Canadian author expressed support on Twitter back in October for a transphobic newspaper column, many accused Atwood of aligning with trans-exclusive radical feminist ideas. Writer Niko Stratis was among those frustrated, not just at Atwood’s expressed views, but at those of other public figures and what they represent: “Atwood, like many other cisgender feminists before her, don’t see questioning the validity of transness or the language around it as invalidating, and one has to wonder if that stems from a lack of engagement with trans people as a whole,” she wrote. This opinion piece was divisive and captured many readers’ attention. We hope that it gave you something to think about.
1. Some young people with disabilities are stuck in long-term care. They say that’s discrimination.
Meagan Gillmore’s revealing, moving piece about the largely forgotten demographic in long-term care surprised many and validated others. It sparked a lot of discussion, both online and at our National Online Reading Club earlier this month, where Gillmore spoke more about the issue and readers shared their personal stories.
Emma Prestwich is Broadview’s digital editor.
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