Each year, the Associated Church Press honors faith-based publications—including magazines, newsletters, websites, and more—with its “Best of the Church Press” awards. The Banner, the magazine of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, received six awards for work produced in 2020, including an Award of Excellence as ‘Best in Class’ denominational or special interest magazine. The Reformed Church in America and Christian Reformed Church ministries of Disability Concerns were honored with three awards, for the Breaking Barriers newsletter and for the online blog.
The contest had 767 entries from 61 organizations in 90 categories. This year’s awards were presented online April 8, during a virtual version of the association’s annual convention, conducted remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Awards for The Banner:
Awards of Excellence
- The Banner (overall excellence / best in class denominational or other special interest magazine)
Shiao Chong, editor-in-chief of The Banner, said, “This award is a testimony to the excellent team of editors and designers, as well as the network of writers that God has blessed us with at The Banner. I hope that our readers and our denomination appreciate this as a sign of how we strive to faithfully serve them.”
- “The Synod That Wasn’t,” by Gayla R. Postma (convention or meeting coverage, magazine, short format)
- Council of Delegates Coverage, by Gayla R. Postma (convention or meeting coverage, magazine, long format)
Postma retired as The Banner’s news editor in October 2020. Chong said of these awards, “These two awards only underscore Gayla's journalism excellence and how much we have been blessed to have her serve The Banner over the decades.”
- “Making a Difference Through Mentoring,” by Lemarr Jackson, Meghan Donohue (feature article, magazine, short format)
- “Mindfulness and the Christian Faith,” by Irene Kraegel (devotional/inspirational, short format)
- “The Banner Update,” (marketing and public relations, electronic newsletter)
Awards for RCA-CRC Disability Concerns:
Awards of Excellence
- Breaking Barriers, co-editors: Terry DeYoung and Mark Stephenson (overall excellence / best in class newsletter)
- Breaking Barriers, Spring 2020 -Visual Impairment and Blindness, by Terry DeYoung and Mark Stephenson, co-editors (theme issue, section, or series)
Terry DeYoung, coordinator for Disability Concerns for the RCA, said the recognition from the “high standards” of the Associated Church Press “is a huge compliment” that speaks “to the overall quality and balance of what's submitted by people in our two denominations.”
“Personally, the most gratifying aspect of Breaking Barriers is providing space for people with disabilities to speak out of their own experience in ways they often don't get to do,” DeYoung said.
Award of Merit
- The Network: CRC-RCA Disability Concerns Disability Concerns (CRC & RCA) (overall excellence / best in class blog)
For the blog category, Mark Stephenson, director of Disability Concerns for the CRC, said three submitted articles were Not Lacking in Anything, The Narrative of Suicide, and Remembering Our Friend Barb Newman.
“I worked with the author of ‘The Narrative of Suicide,’” Stephenson said. “The author found the writing process made the topic less of a ‘dragon to be feared.’ I hope and pray that our telling the stories of people living with disabilities and mental health challenges in Breaking Barriers and our blog will be helpful to our readers in making their own ‘dragons’ a little less fearful.”
The Associated Church Press, founded in 1916, describes itself as “an international community of communication professionals brought together by faithfulness to their craft and by a common task of reflecting, describing, and supporting the life of faith and the Christian community.” It has just over 100 members—publications and individuals.