United Methodist publications among “best” in Christian press
May 5, 2005
By Kathy Noble*
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.