By Melanie P. Moore
This time last year, The Abbey had just redesigned the website and, with it, relaunched the blog which we titled Practicing Presence. On a personal note, the Abbey community has been a blessing to me in so many ways and the reception to the weekly publication of blog posts (as well as submissions from many of The Abbey participants) has been nothing short of amazing. So, on this last day of 2023, I wanted to share some of the things that I’ve noticed as I looked back over this year of editing Practicing Presence. Most importantly, I want to ask you as readers to share in the comments section things that you liked (or didn’t care for) as well as what you’d like to see from the blog in 2024.
In 2023, engagement with the blog increased by 512% to 3,300 users up from 529 in the prior 12-month period—that’s 2,771 more people who read the blog this year.
I’m delighted to see that we increased the number of contributing writers by 94% over the prior 12-month period, introducing Muslim, Jewish, LGBTQ+, and Native American writers. These multi-faceted perspectives on contemplative spirituality enriched the blog and, I can tell you personally, strengthened friendships among these writers.
We created a Contributors Page where every writer for the blog has a bio and photo so that our readers can learn more about them and their work—we invite them to share links to their other projects if they wish. And we added Submission Guidelines so that anyone who wishes to write for Practicing Presence can submit their work. We invite you to consider sharing your work with us.
We added a monthly feature, the Contemplative Trove, which is a curated list of upcoming spiritual practice and learning opportunities both in-person and virtual. I’m grateful to the volunteer editorial team who helps me put this list together every month. Anecdotal feedback is that the “Trove,” as we call it, is a useful reference for people looking to explore spiritual growth.
Taking yet another moment of editorial privilege, I’d like you to know how grateful I am for this opportunity. It is a gift to work with writers in a collaborative editorial process. I’d also like to thank my father-in-law, Sandy Reich, for granting us unlimited use of his beautiful landscape photography to enrich the visual experience of the blog.
As we head into 2024, please take a moment to let us know in the comments section what you’d like to see from the blog in the coming year. While the writers and I enjoy producing it, we want to be sure the blog meets the needs (and wishes) of our readers. Thank you for being faithful in reading what we’ve published in 2023. I’m eager to see what pieces come up for us to share with you in 2024.
Happy New Year!