Today we conclude our two-part series looking back at the big stories of 2015 on UM & Global. Last week, I listed our most-viewed posts of 2015. This week, I'll identify our top four themes from 2015 and make a prediction about what a fifth theme for 2016 might be. For comparison, you can check out UMNS's top news stories from 2015.
Theme 1: Migration
Spurred in large part by the migration crisis in Europe, migration was the top theme for posts on UM & Global in 2015. Posts on migration have emphasized that this issue is not only a political or humanitarian one, but a missiological and theological one. You can view related posts here. I fully expect migration to be an important theme in 2016 as well, whether or not it's the top story again.
Theme 2: Church structure and General Conference
Since this blog is "dedicated to fostering conversations about the global nature of The United Methodist Church," posts about global church structure are a recurring feature. That has been even more the case as the UMC gears up for General Conference 2016. Here are posts related to General Conference and the broader category of posts related to global ecclesiology. With GC2016 happening in five months, it's fair to say this theme will remain important through 2106.
Theme 3: Race
A series of events in the US, from the Black Lives Matter movement to the Charleston shooting made race an important topic in the US for 2015. This blog has commented on that set of issues but also made the connection between race and global structure, the theme above. Here are posts on race. I hope that race will continue to be an important topic of discussion for 2016 and that the conversation can continue to broaden from an American to an international context.
Theme 4: The environment
The environment did not have the same sort of catalyzing story for 2105 as did migration or race, but a variety of stories, including the COP21 summit, have ensured that attention to the environment and climate change has been steady and coming from a variety of places throughout the church. Here are stories on the environment. I expect this trend to continue for 2016.
A prediction for 2016: Global health
While global health was a less important theme for 2015, it is my top prediction for a fifth important theme for 2016. I am hoping to publish a couple of health-related guest posts in February or March. Moreover, as the UMC nears the end of its Imagine No Malaria campaign, I hope that will encourage missiological conversations on the church's future direction related to global health.