Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-related publications won 18 awards in the 2008 “Best of the Christian Press” competition sponsored by the Associated Church Press(ACP) — the oldest and largest religious press association in North America.

The Presbyterian News Service (PNS) — which will undergo a General Assembly Council review beginning May 11 — led the way with six awards, including third place in the prestigious “Best in Class” category for religious news services. It marks the 11th time in the last 12 years PNS has placed in the ACP’s top category.

HORIZONS — the magazine of Presbyterian Women — won five awards.

Presbyterians Today and the independent Presbyterian Outlook each took home three awards.

And Noticias, the newsletter of Santa Fe Presbytery edited by Ray Kersting, to second place in the Acorn Award” competition for small-budget publications.

In addition to its “Best in Class” award — the judges said PNS “demonstrates a strong connection with its mission to report clearly and responsibly on a range of topics of interest to its audiences” — the denomination’s official news agency won:

  • an Award of Excellence (first place) in “In-Depth Coverage” for Jerry L. Van Marter’s chronicle on PC(USA) mission in Russia entitled “From Russia With Love”;
  • an Award of Excellence in “Biographical Profile” for “Alaskan Abraham,” Van Marter’s profile of Walter Soboleff, the first Alaska Native ordained to the PC(USA) ministry, who celebrated his 100th birthday last fall;
  • an Award of Merit (second place) in “News Story” for the late Evan Silverstein’s “Lesbian’s Bid to Become Minister Moves Forward” story on the candidacy of Lisa Larges;
  • Honorable Mention (third place) in “Feature Article” for Van Marter’s story, “Russia’s killing field,” about a visit with a Russian Baptist pastor to the forest at Katyn in western Russia where tens of thousands of Russians — including the pastor’s grandfather — were killed and their bodies dumped in a mass grave during Stalin’s mid-1930s purge;
  • Honorable Mention in “Interview” for Van Marter’s interview with Soboleff last fall in Sitka, AK.

HORIZONS — a perennial winner in the “Bible Resource” category — won an Award of Excellence for its 2008 Bible study, “Jubilee! Luke’s Gospel for the Poor” by the Rev. Dale Lindsay Morgan. The magazine also won:

  • an Award of Merit in “Ancillary Products” for its campaign kit for the 2008 Thank Offering, produced by Cindy Goodman, Sharon Dunne Gillie and Stephanie Morris;
  • an Award of Merit in “Theme Issue” and an Honorable Mention in “Magazine Cover” for “Understanding Hunger and Global Poverty,” edited by Ashley Mayer and designed by Morris;
  • Honorable Mention in “In-Depth Coverage: Magazine” for Noelle Damico’s “Good News from the Poor” in the November 2008 issue.

Presbyterians Today received an Award of Merit for its pre- and post-General Assembly coverage by Editor Eva Stimson, associate editor John Sniffen and PNS Coordinator Van Marter in the “Convention or Meeting Coverage” category; an Award of Merit in “Theological Reflection” for Terry Muck’s “Loving Our Buddhist and Muslim Neighbors” in the April 2008 issue; and an Award of Merit in “Bible Resource” for “How Did We Get Our Bible?” by John Carroll in the December 2008 issue.

Presbyterian Outlook — based in Richmond, VA —won an Award of Merit in “News Story: Magazine” for Leslie Scanlon’s story on the election of Bruce Reyes-Chow as moderator of the 218th General Assembly last summer; an Award of Merit in “Feature Article: Magazine” for Erin Dunigan’s November 2008 story entitled “Flip Flops and Cowboy Boots” about a new church development in California; and an Honorable Mention for its Web site. — Jack Haberer, editor, and Dean Mead, designer.

About Noticias, the contest judges said: “A valuable service to members who want to know the latest news about the denomination and, specifically, the work within the Presbytery of Santa Fe. A great bang for the buck.”

The awards were presented during the 93-year-old ACP’s annual convention here on May 7. More than 1,000 entries were judged in nearly 60 categories by a panel of independent judges.