It’s hard to believe that the Covenant relaunch happened a little over a year ago. Last August, we had no way of predicting how readers would respond or whether our little experiment would even work. But I’m pleased to say that we’ve gone from strength to strength.
We met and exceeded our original stated goal of providing one post a day, Monday to Friday, and our regular readership has increased more than tenfold. Readers have clearly been interested in our particular mix of material: pieces on theology and liturgy, contemporary church practice, reviews of books and pop culture, commentary on Anglican news, and some occasional satire, among other things. Even when we took a little “vacation” and didn’t write anything new for a week, links to our top ten posts of the year generated about as much interest as new ones: several readers even got in touch to say how much they enjoyed rereading some of their favorite posts again.
Covenant’s presence on social media continues to grow steadily, as does that of The Living Church, largely without a concerted media campaign or emptying our coffers into excessive advertising. Our Facebook and Twitter followers have more than tripled in the past year. We could do more in that department and others (and we will), but it’s been good to see these early gains in readership and following, by dint of God’s grace and our sheer persistence in showing up.
We’ve also seen an enormous outpouring of good will over the past year, not least during General Convention. Folks from across the Episcopal Church came to thank us for our work and urge us to continue on.
Where are things going now?
First of all, expect more. In the coming year, readers will be introduced to new contributors and guest authors from around the Communion. Some of us will be writing a bit more on pop culture, liturgy, and patristics, among other topics. While most Covenant contributors remain based in the Episcopal Church, we’ll start directing a little more attention to issues and topics of interest to readers throughout the Communion and the broader Church.
Second, we’ll be keeping to our core mission and identity. We’re committed to “seeking and serving the full visible unity of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church,” as our About Us states. That full vision helps keep all of our individual efforts in perspective, especially during troubled periods in our respective locales and churches. I am also committed, as an editor, to ensuring that our writing not only remains substantive but also charitable and constructive, committed to the edification of the Church, “that wonderful and sacred mystery.” We won’t descend into hopelessness, faithlessness, or a lack of good will and love for our brothers and sisters.
We’re here to stay, and we pray that God will use our humble efforts in the renewal of his Church and its common life.
The featured image is “Calendar*” (2011) by Dafne Cholet. It is licensed under Creative Commons.