Looking Back on Bearings

A Retrospective on the Blog's Second Year

Perhaps because I have spent so many years of my life in school and church settings, I relish these last few weeks of August. Sure, classes may be starting in educational institutions across the nation, but in my mind, “academic summer”—with its more luxurious, relaxed pace—won’t officially end until after Labor Day, when vacations come to a close, the speed of curricular content delivery quickens, and church programming picks up steam.

As we proceed toward September, Elizabeth Drescher and I are preparing Bearings for its third season of publication. Over the course of the next ten months, we will introduce you to new voices, offer our returning contributors additional opportunities to shine, and move the blog in some novel directions.

But before we head into that future, we’d like to hark back to the past. Taking a walk down memory lane, we see that 2015–2016 was a fine year for The BTS Center’s blog, which won several national awards. Not only did Heidi Shott’s essay “The Privilege of Belonging” garner a Polly Bond Award of Merit in the Theological Reflection category from the Episcopal Communicators, but Bearings won two DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards from the Religion Communicators Council—including the only two Awards of Excellence given in the Blog and Blog Series categories. We are especially proud of the fact that writers who were new to Bearings composed three of the four pieces in the “Standing for Justice: A Conversation on Race, Ministry, Leadership, and Congregational Life” series, which included the following posts:

During the 2015–2016 publication year, eleven first-time contributors offered their talents, perspectives, and insights to Bearings. They, together with the authors who made Bearings’ first year so successful, comprise a fine team, and we’re fortunate to work with all of them. Week in and week out, they produce thoughtful posts that raise important questions and jump-start meaningful conversations.

We are pleased with Bearings and its audience, which has now grown well beyond our initial expectations. If you are a new reader who would like to get a feel for what the blog has been about—or if you’re a longtime audience member who wishes to revisit some of your favorite posts—we’ve put together a literary retrospective for your reading pleasure. The pieces below, which occur in no particular order, represent thirteen—a perfect baker’s dozen—of the most popular pieces we published in Bearings last season. Enjoy.

(For more information about each piece, mouse over its image to access summary comments.)


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Alyssa Lodewick

An authorized minister in the United Church of Christ, the Rev. Alyssa Lodewick earned Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work degrees from Boston University. Before Alyssa allowed herself to pursue a religious vocation, she spent the first part of her professional life working for a variety of nonprofit organizations and academic institutions, co-editing To Educate A Nation: Federal and National Strategies of School Reform along the way. Connect with her on Twitter @AlyssaLodewick.

Image credit:

Cover – Susanne Nilsson, “Looking Back,” April 23, 2014. Via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0.