Five Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-related publications won 16 awards in the 2009 "Best of the Christian Press" competition sponsored by the Associated Church Press.

The Presbyterian News Service and Presbyterians Today led the way, each taking home five awards. PNS and Horizons — the magazine of Presbyterian Women — placed in the "Best in Class" categories for news service and special interest magazine, respectively. PNS tied for third place in that category, and Horizons won the Award of Excellence, the top prize.

The independent Presbyterian Outlook and The Presbyterian Sun, a former print publication of the Synod of the Sun, also were recognized. The Outlook won three awards and the Sun won one.

In the description of PNS for the "Best in Class" category, the judge said, "There was much to like in this entry: nice features, hard-hitting news. The writing was tight, well-edited, and a good read."

PNS also won:

  • an Award of Excellence in "News Story" for Jerry L. Van Marter’s story “‘We cannot agree’ says marriage/unions panel”;
  • an Award of Merit (second place) in "Theme Issue, Section, or Series: Newspaper/News Service/Newsletter/Website" for its ongoing "Deep and Wide" series — "a superb example of how to use new media in church communications";
  • an Honorable Mention in "Biographical Profile” for Bethany Furkin’s story “Birds of a feather";
  • an Award of Merit in "Photography, with Article or Cutline: Newspaper" for "Hog Heaven," John Welzenbach's photo of motorcycle-riding Presbyterian pastor in Illinois

Horizons' Award of Excellence in the Best in Class competition of special interest magazines came with this praise: "Images, illustrations, headlines, decks, and copy work together to create an overall impression of an information-packed publication aimed squarely at its audience."

Horizons also won:

  • an Award of Merit in "Humor, Written" for Charlotte Johnstone's piece "An Invitation to Speak." The judge called the entry "A warmly amusing piece which well combines the humorous and the pensive and is never dismissive of the easily dismissible."

Presbyterians Today took home five Honorable Mention awards in several categories:

  • "Feature Article: Magazine, Long Format” for editor Eva Stimson’s "The faces of immigration";
  • "In-Depth Coverage: Magazine” for Stimson’s “The faces of immigration";
  • "Biographical Profile" for "The real John Calvin" by Christopher Elwood;
  • "Devotional/Inspirational: Long Format" for "Conversations with Jesus," written by Eugenia A Gamble and illustrated by Anita DuFalla;
  • "Humor, Graphic" for "Jay Leno, evangelist?" by artist Rob Hren

The Presbyterian Outlook, an independent biweekly magazine based in Richmond, Va., won three awards:

The Presbyterian Sun, which ceased printing in 2009 but is available online as part of Presbyterian Neighbor News, won one award: an Honorable Mention in “Theme Issue, Section, or Series: Newspaper/News Service/Newsletter/Website” for Shane Whisler's "Newsprint ends, but news legacy lives on at"

An independent panel judged the entries in more than 60 categories. Awards were presented at ACP's annual conference, held in Arlington May 6-8. ACP is the oldest and largest religious press association in North America.