Where were you on the 31st of July, 2006?
While I can't remember exactly where I was sitting or what I had for breakfast, I can at least recall one thing what I was doing: I was writing the first post on New Zealand's first (that we know of) Catholic blog.
And, nearly 9 years later, here I am writing the last official post on that same blog.
I'd be lying to say that I'm not a little bit sad to be saying goodbye to a project that has held a special place in my life.
When we started this site with Gavin and the team at the NZ Catholic newspaper, none of us were very sure of what the future was going to hold: could we get a team together that would be keen to contribute regularly? Would anyone even read the posts? Would people comment and take part?
In my first post, I said that we created the blog so we could have "an honest, frank and refreshing conversation about our (Catholic) faith and our take as Catholic New Zealanders living in the world," and I asked for people to take part through comments, stories and prayer. I hoped that if we were a bit more frank about what we believe and what we think, we might even learn more about our faith and each other. "Wouldn’t that be refreshing?" I asked.
Well, after more than 2,400 posts, 55,000 comments, hundreds of thousands of visits from thousands of people around the world, I can honestly say that it's been a great conversation! Sure, there have been some
arguments…er, I mean pretty animated discussions, but there has also been plenty of good humour, support for one another, teaching and advice shared. I would also venture to say that many friendships were formed on or through this site, and I still remember attending the first Being Frank meet-up back in 2007 and being taken aback at the number of people who had connected through our humble little blog – enough to fill a pub!
The internet has changed a lot since 2006. Back then, Twitter was a barely tweeting, Facebook was pretty much only populated with US college students, and no one had heard of Instagram, Snapchat or Vine…because they didn't exist yet! Heck, the iPhone hadn't even been released at that point.
Things have changed, and they have changed for the Catholic 'new' media scene as well. Back then, we were pretty lonesome in terms of company, whereas nowadays there are some really great Catholic blogs out there with brilliant content. (Case-in-point: if you haven't already, check out Restless Press!)
Being Frank isn't going away, per se, as we're planning to keep the posts and comments up as an archive of this site. But this will be the last officIal post from the Being Frank team.
Speaking of which, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to the site over the past decade. To the original team – Agnes Day (posted on Tuesdays from August '06 through April '07), Peter the First (posted on Wednesdays from August '06 through September '07), The Captain (posted on Thursdays from August '06 through October '08), Methuselah's Beard (posted on Fridays from August '06 to March '12), The Dumb Ox (posted on Saturdays from August '06 to August '10) and eyeWitness (posted on Sundays from August '06 through June '10) – and to all the authors that followed – Filia Day (posted April '07 to May '11), Tuppence (posted October '07 to May '10, then did a second tour from September '12 until May '13), Voice in the Wilderness (posted May '10 to May '13), Joan of Arc (posted July '10 to July '11), Kereopa (posted November '10 to February '13), Inkling (posted May '10 to April '13), On The Road (posted October '08 to May '10), Marty Rethul (posted October '10 to August '14), Mary and Martha (posted April '12 to February '15), Opthomistic (posted July '11 to July '13), How I Met Our Father (posted March '13 to October '13) and Boanerges (posted August '13 to October '14) – thank you. Thank you for your willingness to answer our call and for taking part so thoughfully and prayerfully in this project. Without you…well, this ministry wouldn't have existed and wouldn't have reached the people it did.
Special thanks has to go to our erstwhile team editor and manager, Gavin – the driving force behind so many Australasian new media projects now, it's hard to keep track! Without him, this blog wouldn't have come to be, nor run as well or as long as it did. Gavin, you're a legend – thank you for all your efforts.
Last, but by no means least, all thanks and glory belongs to God. If we have done anything with this humble site that has positively moved or improved any lives, it's all due to Him.
So, all good things must come to an end or, as the oft-quoted 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes points out:
"All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven."
I feel refreshed.