This column, Pop Christianity, started in September 2003; I joined as staff in September 2004. On my first day on the job I met Amy MacLachlan returning from her honeymoon. It was during Amy’s first maternity leave that Connie Wardle joined us. Caroline Bishop, our art director, came on board in 2005. Deborah Leader, our administrative assistant, also arrived a little over a decade ago.
With David Harris, editor and publisher, this has been the team, along with designer Salina Vanderhorn and web master Wil McGilvery, that has produced the magazine for the past 10 years. We have disagreed, got on each others’ nerves (me on theirs mostly) and worked closely, collegially and with a great deal of mutual respect. There was a hierarchy of sorts, we all had job titles that suggested various responsibilities, but we all participated on all levels of production—sourcing ideas, developing stories, writing, editing, copy editing.
Along the way there were two weddings—Caroline’s and Connie’s. And six children—Caroline’s three, Amy’s two, David’s one. Plus, Connie is expecting in March. A true family.
Caroline taught me the importance of the visual. She gave the magazine its look—its body, if you will. She gave physical presence to a steady stream of theological essays. Month after month I was moved by the worship she created with her art direction.
Weeks after Connie joined us I asked David to find extra money, we had to keep her. She was fresh from school and a Preacher’s Kid—two obvious marks against her. But she’s smart and a natural storyteller. Two of her pieces which only appeared online rank amongst my favourites of her work—her trip to Jordan and her Reformation Tour (with Wine!). Beautifully paced observations.
I will miss Amy; the editorial critiques; the passionate faith and wisdom. The magazine should have moved away from the middle-aged male voice that has so dominated it, to hers, and Connie’s and Caroline’s; towards her vision of wider inclusivity and engagement with the pragmatic details of living a life of faith.
Deborah has been our quiet omnipresent centre. She’s always in the office, holding it down. I long joked she wasn’t allowed to take vacation because my flightiness would lose its anchor in her absence.
David found more money from fewer resources each year. He worked the fine details of contracts to extract the best values. He kept the magazine alive and gave us all—the day workers, and the columnists, and the church at large—an open playing field to tell stories and have conversations. Any success the Record has had in the past decade begins with his stewardship.
I have been blessed to play with these kids in a really fun amusement park. I’m going to miss the daily engagement with them all. And I’m going to miss having this bully pulpit. And I’m going to miss hanging with all of you. There’s at least a dozen of you I’ve never met but we’ve exchanged emails for years. I’ll miss you.
There are a few things I won’t miss; they have no place in this accounting. Remember, God is good and Jesus loves you. The rest is unimportant by comparison.