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United Methodist publications among “best” in Christian press

 


United Methodist publications among “best” in Christian press
May 5, 2005        

By Kathy Noble*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)--Twenty-one United Methodist writers, editors and publications were among the “Best of the Christian Press” honored April 26. Their awards were among nearly 300 presented by the Associated Church Press for work published during 2004.

In the organization’s top category, “Best in Class,” Vital Theology, a year-old newsletter published and edited by David W. Reid, Fort Collins, Col. received the award of excellence for newsletters. Vital Theology also received honorable mentions for newsletter feature article, news story and theme coverage.

“Best in Class” awards of merit went to MethodX, a website of Upper Room Ministries, edited by Beth A. Richardson, and to Zion’s Herald, a publication of the Boston Wesleyan Association, edited by the Rev. Stephen Swecker. Zion’s Herald also received awards of merit for editorial courage, interview and publication redesign and honorable mentions for magazine column and humor piece.

The UM Connection, newspaper of the Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference edited by the Rev. Erik Alsgaard, received honorable mention in “Best in Class” for regional newspapers and honorable mention for columns written by Melissa Lauber.

Other award winners with United Methodist ties included:

Christian Century: Award of excellence for a biographical profile by Bishop William H. Willimon.

United Methodist Reporter: Award of excellence for news story by Susan Scheib.

Alive Now, honorable mentions for poetry by Fredrick Zydek and short format devotional by Laura Huff Hileman.

New World Outlook, honorable mention for denominational general interest magazine story by David Rice.

In addition, Religion News Service received an award of excellence for Kevin Eckstrom’s coverage of the 2004 General Conference. Christian Century won an honorable mention for coverage of the same event.

A complete list of winners can be found at
http://www.theacp.org.

The ACP’s 89th annual convention drew 100 publishers, editors and writers of Christian, ecumenical and interfaith periodicals to plenary sessions and workshops under the theme,
“In Tune with Changing Times.”

“Within the next 10 years many, if not all of your publications, will not exist as you know them today,” Charles Overby, chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum, advised the participants.

“Your ability to lead that change will determine whether or not you are still coming to these conventions,” he told the members work with denominational publications. He also advised the editors and publishers to develop “authoritative Web sites while your print name is still known.”

“People no longer read (denominational publications) out of obligation,” Overby said. “The people in the pews – your main audience—are looking for connections between faith and their daily lives.”

Author and lecturer Phyllis Tickle of Millington, Tenn. supported Overby’s statement as she concluded the convention with a review of what trends in book purchases tell about religion readers.  Purchasers indicate they want more information on marriage and the family, inspiration, forgiveness, health, parenting, religious history and self-help as well as more religious books for children and more Bible studies and studies focusing on Jesus.

The Rev. Luther Smith, professor of church and community at United Methodist-related Candler School of Theology, Atlanta expanded the convention theme as he identified cultural trends that “are not driving the imagination and response of the church.” They included indifference to the poor, virtual numbness to violence and “a culture increasingly enamored with prisons as an answer to deviant behavior and increasingly detached from prisoners.” He urged working to bring people into “a listening, communicating and caring relationship with one another” and with the poor.

The Rev. Victoria Rebeck, director of communications in the Minnesota Annual (regional) Conference, ended a three-year term as ACP president. The Rev. Jerry Van Marter, director of Presbyterian News Service, Louisville, Ky., is the new president. Cynthia Astle, editor, UMR Communications, serves on ACP’s board of directors.

Associated Church Press includes 150 Christian, ecumenical or interfaith periodicals and websites throughout the world.

Kathy Noble is editor of Interpreter and Interpreter OnLine, publications of United Methodist Communications.

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