Author: Muir, Ross W
Date published: May 31, 2010
Coverage of the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly in Paraguay and John H. Neufeld's three-part series, "Reading the Bible for all its Worth," earned first-place honours for Canadian Mennonite at this year's Canadian Church Press (CCP) convention and awards banquet, held in Toronto from May 13 to 15. The assembly coverage won for "In-depth Treatment of a News Event: Magazine" while Neufeld's work won for "Biblical Interpretation," a category open to both magazines and newspapers.
Said the judge of the MWC coverage, which featured work by editor/publisher Dick Benner, other Mennonite publishing colleagues and MWC staff, and which was spread out over three issues: "The many different pieces, told from a range of points of view, have contributed to giving the reader the sense that he or she actually attended Paraguay 2009. The editorial content and the photos create a sense of excitement and energy without 'cheerleading.'"
"Neufeld's phenomenal ability to discuss sensitive theological matters in plain, downto-earth English" was a deciding factor for the judge. "This informative series of articles seems like a helpful, easy-to-follow beginner's introduction to reading the Bible as well as a healthy corrective for the rest of us. The layout of the article, including subheads, pull quotes and highlighted discussion questions helps greatly in making this a very readable series of articles."
"Outside the Box" columnist Phil Wagler came second in the "Column: Magazine" category. "Words flow almost artfully to a conclusion that is expressly designed to tie up the message and leave readers thinking about their own position on any given issue," the judge commented, adding, "The author's style is such that I'd seek his by-line out separately on my own."
In the "Theological Reflection (Devotional/ Inspirational): Open" category, Canadian Mennonite came third for its "Ministry to all members of the body of Christ" feature. "A perceptive, well-written, balanced and eye-catching package that is relevant and should prove most useful in helping people in congregations come to terms with the mentally handicapped people in their midst," the judge wrote, noting that the feature makes clear that "people with mental disorders are our brothers and sisters: real people, not labels or disturbances . . . ."
Work by Wagler and "Stories of Faith in Life" columnist Jack Dueck has been shortlisted by The Word Guild's Canadian Christian Writing Awards. Wagler's book, Kingdom Culture: Growing the Missional Church, is shortlisted in the "Books: Apologetics" category. Dueck had his "Breaking bread in a barn" column shortlisted in the "Article: Inspirational/Devotional" category. The winners will be announced at the Canadian Christian Writing Awards gala, June 16, in Mississauga, Ont.
BY ROSS W. MUIR