The winners of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Christmas Joy Offering Children’s Art Contest have been selected.

The contest, in which children up to age 14 were invited to submit art representing their own visions of the Christmas story, attracted more than 250 submissions from scores of churches across the country.

Judges from the Mission Interpretation program area narrowed the entries to about 15 in each of three age categories. The 48 finalists represented more than 25 congregations in 15 states. Staff members at the Presbyterian Center were then invited to vote on their three favorite pieces in each age group. More than 75 staff members from the General Assembly Mission Council, the Office of the General Assembly, and Presbyterian Publishing Corporation participated.

Some left comments on their ballots such as, “Wow! That’s like a 6-year-old van Gogh with all those stars vibrating in the purple night!”; “I know it won't win, but how could I not choose the baby Jesus levitating from the manger?”; and “Funny you don’t see more Christmas art showing Mary pregnant with Jesus.”

In the 2- to 6-year-old group, the winners are:

  • First place — Audrey Farrell, 6, of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Wichita, Kan.
  • Second place — Jaedyn Lehman, 6, of First Presbyterian Church, Pendleton, Ore.
  • Third place (tie) — Eva Spangler, 6, of First Presbyterian Church in New Canaan, Conn.; Jonathan Elijah Minor, 6, of All Souls Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Va.; and Annika Hauser-Brydon, 5, of St. Simons Presbyterian Church on St. Simons Island, Ga.

In the 7- to 10-year-old group winners are:

  • First place — Amanda Duggan, 10, of Sea Island Presbyterian Church in Beaufort, S.C.
  • Second place — Sydney Phillips, 8, of Poland (Ohio) Presbyterian Church.
  • Third place — Beverly Johnson, 10, of Mine Hill (N.J.) Presbyterian Church.

In the 11 to 14-year-old group, the winners are:

  • First place — Daniel Evans, 11, of Mine Hill (N.J.) Presbyterian Church.
  • Second place — Emily Coker, 11, of First Presbyterian Church in Cornelia, Ga.
  • Third place — Maddie Stegenga, 11, of First Presbyterian Church in Luverne, Minn.

The winning art works are featured on a banner on the Christmas Joy Offering Web site, and all the finalists will be seen on the kids4kids Web site. Many of the images have also been used in creating a special coin bank that congregations can order instead of or in addition to the traditional bank.

“Another contest is tentatively being planned for 2010,” said Alan Krome, associate for Mission Interpretation/Special Offerings. “We had really planned the 2008 contest as a one-time event, but we’ve received many phone calls and emails from congregations hoping for another contest. For this year, we would like to suggest congregations host their own children’s art contest and show.”

A Presbyterian tradition for more than 70 years, the Christmas Joy Offering supports the Board of Pensions assistance funds to help retired church workers in need and students at the PC(USA)’s racial ethnic schools and colleges.