Faith Forum column and Spiritually Speaking blog

      By Anna Bowness-Park

Moderator for Faith Forum and Spiritually Speaking

Those of you who receive the print edition of the Times Colonist may have noticed a column, often found in the Religion section in the Saturday paper. It is called Faith Forum. So, who are these writers of this column and how did it begin?

Nine years ago I approached the Times Colonist editors with the idea to begin a community blog on their paper’s website that gave different faith groups and spiritual thinkers a space to share their ideas, to correct misunderstandings regarding their faith and to promote a greater dialogue within the community on spirituality. The editors loved the idea and we named the blog, Spiritually Speaking. You can find it today in the right-hand column on the front page of the online paper.

We started out with eight brave writers, mostly from the UVic Interfaith Chaplaincy (now UVic Multifaith Services); a list of Guidelines and strong support from the Times Colonist for the blog. A few months later the Editor-In-Chief at the time, Denise Helm, came up with the idea of a weekly column in the print edition. That column is called Faith Forum.  Every article that appears in print also appears on the blog, along with some extra articles that are published there each week.

Today we have 24 writers from different faiths in Victoria and a good readership base. It is a wonderful achievement by these hard working, dedicated writers. We also have a Twitter account from which to publicize the articles more widely.

In a world where religion and faith discussions are sidelined or become political footballs, these two formats – the print column and the online blog offer readers a fresh way to consider the issues of the day in a spiritual context. It is also the only model of its kind in North America.

As moderator, and as a member of the Communications Committee with the VMS, I am pleased to announce that these two media platforms are now under the wing of the VMS as an activity of this society.