The Lutheran has again been recognised by the Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA), receiving three honours in the 2021 ARPA awards announced this month.
Our churchwide magazine won a gold award for Best Profile Story, a silver award in the Best Faith Reflection category and completed the set with a bronze award in the Best News Story category. The gold award recognised the work of journalist and volunteer contributor Helen Beringen for the Going GREYT column on the Lutheran Community Sewing Group, which was published in the October 2020 edition under the title ‘A stitch in time builds lives’.
The judges said: ‘This article deserves first place for a number of reasons: it clearly fulfils the stated aim of the article, describing with clarity the origin, purpose, method of operation, and people involved in the Lutheran Community Sewing Group; it describes and quotes from the people involved in such a way that they are appealing; the activities of the group are presented so that they are inspirational and encouraging. The photographs of leaders and participants complement the written article well.’
The Lutheran received its silver award for Pastor Reid Matthias’s piece on social isolation entitled ‘Social Dis-connection’. The judges said of the faith reflection published in the June 2020 edition: ‘Story-telling is the hallmark of Christian teaching … This short reflection on how we encounter God in the most unlikely of places begins by citing the current practice of social distancing during a pandemic and deplores the contemporary trend of isolating ourselves that has been growing for some time. This article takes less than five minutes to read but its reward is in the message of real connection it will leave you.’
The Lutheran’s bronze award came for Editor Lisa McIntosh’s news story ‘Love amid bushfire crises’, published in February 2020. The judges said: ‘This concise news story takes the readership on a quick trip around parts of Australia impacted by the bushfires which heralded the start of 2020. The focus is on the presence of the Lutheran Church wherever need is … Lots of relevant information captured without relish or hyperbole.’
Linda Macqueen, LCA Communications Manager and former editor of The Lutheran, said the magazine’s continuous positive peer recognition over several decades is testament to its ability to adapt to changes in reader expectations.
‘Our church is growing increasingly diverse in how it defines Lutheran identity and practice, which of course is reflected in its expectations of its churchwide magazine’, she said. ‘It’s a challenging time to be steering a publication that relies on subscriptions to stay afloat. So I’m delighted to see that the ARPA community has recognised Lisa’s hard work and talents, as she has stayed true to the course in this testing environment.
‘It’s exciting and immensely rewarding to receive even one award from this community of professional editors and writing; to pick up three, including a gold, is something all of us in the LCANZ can be proud of.’
ARPA’s premier annual honour, The Gutenberg Award, was this year won by Zadok Perspectives and Papers, the flagship publication of Ethos: EA Centre for Christianity & Society. The Lutheran won The Gutenberg Award in 2011.
Due to the annual ARPA conference being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the second consecutive year, the awards were announced on an internet conference, with members joining the online presentation from around Australia and New Zealand.