Join us in Detroit! Reply

If you will be in Detroit next month for the 221st General Assembly, please plan on attending the Presbyterian Writers Guild luncheon on Thursday, June 19. Highlights of the luncheon include:

  • Presentation of the 2014 David Steele Distinguished Writer Award to Kathy Bostrom, author of more than three dozen books, most for children
  • Presentation of the Best First Book Award to Robert John Andrews for his Civil War novel Nathaniel’s Call
  • Brief addresses by the award-winners
  • Information about new membership benefits
  • Election of Presbyterian Writers Guild (PWG) officers
  • Opportunity to purchase signed copies of PWG-award-winning books

A much-anticipated ritual at the luncheon is the singing of the PWG hymn written by late member Vic Jameson. The luncheon also is an excellent opportunity to meet other PWG members and board members and to network with other writers and aspiring writers.

Tickets for the luncheon may be purchased online for $38 each by anyone registering for General Assembly. Tickets will also be available for $40 each at the COBO Center (convention center) in Detroit prior to the June 19 event.

Novel set during Civil War wins First Book Award Reply

Presbyterian Writers Guild selects Robert John Andrews for prize

By Jerry L. Van Marter

ImageThe Presbyterian Writers Guild has selected Robert John Andrews, a pastor in Danville, Pennsylvania, to receive this year’s Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC) First Book Award for his novel set during the Civil War, Nathaniel’s Call. The award honors the best first book by a Presbyterian author published during the calendar years of 2012–2013.

Andrews’ book, self-published in 2012, was selected from among 17 entries in a variety of genres to receive the biennial award. The PPC First Book Award winner is recognized at the Presbyterian Writers Guild’s General Assembly luncheon, which this year will be Thursday, June 19, in Detroit.

Announcing the award, Jane Hines of Nashville, retired director of communications for the Synod of Living Waters and chair of the PPC First Book Award Committee, said, “Several genres are represented in the 17 books we received (teen science fiction, memoirs, poetry, young adult fiction, novels, journals, dissertation re-writes). We were just looking for the best writing in any category and found it in Nathaniel’s Call.

Andrews’ novel is told from the point of view of a Presbyterian chaplain and a physician attached to a Pennsylvania regiment during the Civil War. “From the first page to the last page,” Hines said, “we were captivated by the vivid descriptions, the characterizations, the historical research, the love stories, the flow of words.

“As a Nashville-based committee comprised of Southerners,” Hines added, “we don’t think it will be a best-seller in Vicksburg and Richmond, but we see Nathaniel’s Call as a splendid example of the art of writing.”

Andrews has been the pastor of Grove Presbyterian Church in Danville since 1989. He has theology degrees from Princeton and Pittsburgh Theological Seminaries and was ordained in 1978. He and his wife, Elaine, have three children. He has been moderator of Northumberland Presbytery and writes a weekly column for the Danville News.

Other notable entries in the Presbyterian Writers Guild’s PPC First Book Award competition:

  • Second place: Tuesday’s Muse, a book of poetry illustrated with black-and-white photographs, written by J. Todd Jenkins, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Fayetteville, Tennessee, self-published in 2013.
  • Third place (tie): Something Greater: Culture, Family and Community as Living Story, by Jeanne Choy Tate, published by Pickwick Publications in 2013; and Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land, by Ruth Everhart, published by Wm. B. Eerdmans in 2012.
  • Fourth place (tie): Take My Hand, a Theological Memoir, by Andrew Taylor-Troutman, published by Resource Publications in 2012; and Learning from My Father, by David Lawther Johnson, published by Wm.B. Eerdmans in 2012.
  • Honorable mention: Matthew A. Rich for A Week from Next Tuesday, published in 2013 by Wipf and Stock; Neal D. Presa for Here I Am, Lord, Send Me: Ritual and Narrative for a Theology of Presbyterial Ordination in the Reformed Tradition,published in 2012 by Wipf and Stock; and MaryAnn McKibben Dana for Sabbath in the Suburbs, published in 2012 by Chalice Press.

All those who entered the First Book Award competition will be given a chance to stand and be recognized at the Presbyterian Writers Guild luncheon at General Assembly. Those who entered, and especially those who placed in the competition, are encouraged to bring a copy of their book to the luncheon.

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 2

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.