Register for January 28 webinar on “Celebrating the Church Year in Verse and Rhyme,” led by Barrie Shepherd Reply

BarrieShepherdIs there a poet hiding inside your soul? Are you a preacher wanting to bring fresh color to your words to move your congregation? Are you ready to spice up your congregation’s liturgy in ways that evoke deep responses and produce lasting memories?

Barrie Shepherd, one of the most renowned church poet-preachers of the past 40 years, wants to share his gifts, his heart, and his skills with you in a webinar at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, January 28.

This webinar includes:

* Finding your inner poet

* Unleashing your imagination in pulpit and liturgy

* Learning seasoned poets’ best techniques

* Discovering fresh resources in literature

* Exploring the role of poetry in the liturgical seasons

Barrie Shepherd has published 15 books of poetry, preaching, and prayer and more than 600 poems in the Presbyterian Outlook, New Republic, Christian Century, National Catholic Reporter, Christian Science Monitor, America, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, and other publications. He is minister emeritus of historic First Presbyterian Church in New York City and has been guest preacher in many major pulpits in the United States, Europe, and Africa. He also has served as Lyman Beecher lecturer at Yale and William Beldon Noble lecturer at Harvard.

Register for the live event (2 p.m. ET, Tuesday, January 28) or the on-demand web replay for $29.95. (All participants in the live event receive complimentary access to the on-demand web replay.) You may also order a DVD of the webinar for $39.95. DVDs will be shipped after the January 28 live event. Visit the website to register, order the DVD, or get more information. For group pricing, to register a group, and if you have any other questions, please contact Jana Blazek at jblazek@pres-outlook.org or 800-446-6008, ext 758.

2014 dues payments due Reply

Your 2014 Presbyterian Writers Guild dues are due. Members will soon receive a PayPal request for funds for the $25, which can be paid by credit card. If you would prefer to pay by check, send $25, plus any additional contribution, payable to “The Presbyterian Writers Guild,” to Bill Lancaster, Treasurer, 105 Rapid River Trail, Greenville, SC 29615. Send questions about your dues to Bill at wlancastertoo@gmail.com.

Presbyterian Writers Guild seeks best new author Reply

Award goes to best first book by a Presbyterian writer

by Jerry L. Van Marter

The Presbyterian Writers Guild (PWG) is seeking entries for its biennial First Book Award. The award, previously known as the Jim Angell Award, has been presented since 1996 to the Presbyterian author of the best first book published during the previous calendar year.

Nominations are being accepted now for the best first book by a Presbyterian author published during the calendar years of 2012-2013. Books may be of any type — fiction, non-fiction, theological, how-to, photos with commentary, poetry, etc.

The award was established by the Guild and the estate of the late James W. Angell, a prolific and respected Presbyterian writer, as a means to recognize and encourage new writers. It is now sponsored by the Guild and the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.

Entries may be submitted by the authors or by others on their behalf. Three copies of the book and a brief statement attesting to the author’s current active membership in a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation or presbytery should be sent to the First Book Award Committee, c/o Jane Hines, P.O. Box 50832, Nashville, TN, 37205.

Deadline for submissions is April 1, 2014.

The book needs to be the author’s first book, and has to have a publication date in 2012 or 2013. Include an e-mail address if the sender wishes to be notified that the books were received. The three copies of the book cannot be returned.

Questions about the award or entry process may be directed to Guild President John Underwood or Jane Hines.

Previous Angell Award winners are listed on this website.

Nominees sought for best Presbyterian writer Reply

Presbyterian Writers Guild will honor winner at 221st General Assembly (2014)

The Presbyterian Writers Guild (PWG) is accepting nominations for its 2014 David Steele Distinguished Writer Award.

The award is given biennially in even-numbered years to recognize the cumulative work and influence — regardless of genre or subject matter — of a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) writer. The award will be presented at the PWG luncheon at next summer’s 219th General Assembly.

Previous winners include The Christian Century editor/publisher John M. Buchanan, The Message author Eugene H. Peterson, former Presbyterian News Service director Marj Carpenter, former Presbyterians Today editor Eva Stimson, novelists Doris Betts and Katherine Paterson, poet Ann Weems, Kansas City Star columnist Bill Tammeus, African-American religious historian Gayraud Wilmore, essayists Kathleen Norris and Frederick Buechner, and journalists Gustav Niebuhr and the late Vic Jameson.

The award is named for R. David Steele, a Presbyterian pastor best known for his whimsical books of poetry and thought-provoking column, “Tuesday Morning,” in The Presbyterian Outlook.

Nominations for the award should include the writer’s PC(USA) affiliation, list of published work, and a 100-word essay describing why the nominee is deserving of the award. Contact information for both the nominator and the nominee should be included.

Send nominations to Emily Enders Odom by email; by fax to (336) 299-5304, or by mail to 308 N. Chapman St., Greensboro, NC 27403.

Deadline for nominations is Jan. 15, 2014.

PWG board okays summer 2014 internship grant Reply

Jameson-Hines scholarship will support Rachel Shussett’s work with PC(USA) Office of Communication

by Jerry L. Van Marter

The Presbyterian Writers Guild (PWG) board of directors has approved a $3,000 grant from the Jameson-Hines Scholarship Fund to support a summer internship in 2014 for Rachel Shussett.

Shussett, a student at Westminster College in Pennsylvania, was approved for a 2013 summer internship with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Communication, supported by a $3,000 scholarship from the PWG, but the internship was cancelled when the communication office underwent a reorganization last January.

Office of Communication leaders Jerry Van Marter of Presbyterian News Service, Patrick Heery of Presbyterians Today, and Billie Healy of the Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study have resurrected the internship and the PWG has renewed its financial commitment to the program. Shussett will divide her time writing for all three participating Office of Communication entities.

The Jameson-Hines Scholarship Fund was created by a bequest from Vic Jameson, the late former editor of Presbyterians Today, and an endowment created in honor of Jane Hines when she retired as communications director for the Synod of Living Waters and editor of its newspaper, The Voice. She currently serves on the PWG board of directors.

Scholarships are awarded to Presbyterian college or seminary students who have a demonstrated interest in writing for the benefit of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to further their education or skills development.

Big Tent Is Big Success 1

 
By Jerry L. Van Marter

The Presbyterian Writers Guild (PWG) played an important part in the success of 2013 Big Tent, which drew more than 1,700 Presbyterians to Louisville Aug. 1-3 to celebrate Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission and ministry and mark the 30th anniversary of Presbyterian reunion and the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Presbyterian Center in Louisville.

The Guild’s signature event at Big Tent was a “Poetry Jam,” featuring PWG board members J. Barrie Shepherd and Dee Wade. A large crowd nearly filled the chapel at the Presbyterian Center for an evening of inspired readings by Barrie and Dee. Bill McConnell, director of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians and a gifted jazz pianist, punctuated the poetry readings with beautiful musical selections. Several who attended commented that the Poetry Jam was the highlight of Big Tent for them.

The Guild, along with The Presbyterian Outlook, Presbyterian Media Mission and the Office of Communications Ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, co-sponsored the Presbyterian Communicators Network conference, one of 10 partner conferences that comprised Big Tent.

PWG board member Bill Lancaster led a workshop on “Electronic Self-Publishing” that drew a large crowd. Bill has enjoyed tremendous success with his self-published novel, The Beast and the Cross.

Barrie Shepherd’s workshop on writing poetry, a last-minute addition to the Big Tent schedule, was also well-attended.

Board member Emily Odom moderated a popular workshop entitled “Testimony Time: Techniques for Getting and Telling Faith Stories.” She was joined by the Rev. Cheyanna Losey, pastor, and two elders from United Church in Woodhull, Ill., who have collected faith stories from church members and gathered them into a book.

Through a personal connection with the PWG’s Bill Lancaster, a workshop on “The Use of Drama in Ministry,” led by ruling elder Anthony Dawson of Greer, S.C., and his troupe of actors, drew one of the largest crowds at Big Tent. The Guild sponsored Anthony’s workshop.

Guild members were also prominent in the Big Tent Communications Center. More than 60 stories were published by a staff of 11 reporters, led by Jerry Van Marter, director of the Presbyterian News Service.

The Presbyterian Communicators Network Conference drew among the most registrants for Big Tent of all the partner conferences, and PCN-sponsored events consistently drew more attendees than were actually registered for the PCN conference itself. This is a tribute to the quality of the workshops and events offered.

Thanks to all Presbyterian Writers Guild members for your continuing support of the Guild. That support lifts up the art and craft of writing as well as the mission and ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).