My journalistic hero G.K. Chesterton described giving thanks as "the highest form of thought" and gratitude as "happiness doubled by wonder." As Convivium celebrates its first birthday with this issue, we have the happy double wonder of having not one but two pieces on the immortal Edwardian in our pages.
The first is an interview with Father Ian Boyd, a Saskatchewan-born Basilian priest, English professor and magazine editor whose New Jersey-based Chesterton Review will turn 40 in 2014. The second is an essay from Diane Weber Bederman, a wonderful Toronto writer who sees the world through the lens of Jewish ethical monotheism and who encountered Chesterton's genius by chance in a bookstore in Rome last year. Initially flummoxed by G.K.'s style, she came to place him in the pantheon of God's messengers, alongside Saint Francis and Botticelli.
The quality of their contributions, and all the others they appear among in our magazine, is reason to give abundant thanks. For those of us who produce and publish Convivium, however, the greatest thanks must go to those who brought us into existence to begin with. Two years ago, it was an open question whether Convivium would see the light of day. We had the dream. We needed the dollars.
Then, generous benefactors such as Tom Caldwell, Duncan Dee and Mary O'Neill, Conrad Black, John Cordeau and a number of others graciously stepped forward with substantial funding that allowed us to move ahead. Their individual largesse was soon matched by smaller but equally welcome donations from dozens of supporters and members who took out their chequebooks to write us $50, $100, $200, $1,000 and up contributions.
Thankful? Us? Double that, and then quadruple it.
We not only got Convivium off the ground with our preview issue in October 2011 but also got such great support from across the country that we met our first year benchmark for memberships and our budget objectives as well. Wonderfully, while we were busy bringing Convivium into being, our partners and colleagues at Cardus gave us the stability and freedom to pursue our ambitions.
"In his last broadcast on BBC Radio, Chesterton made the point that he thought people should be a little more cheerful and learn to be happy in the quiet moments when they remembered they were alive," Father Ian Boyd says in this issue's interview.
To remind ourselves that we are alive and that, by definition, that means cheerfully sharing faith in our common life is the ne plus ultra goal of Convivium. With the help of so many, we have done that for our first year. We look forward thankfully, very thankfully, to doing it for many more.