John Buchanan tapped for top Writers Guild award

Chicago pastor honored for books, sermons and Christian Century columns

February 8, 2012

John M. Buchanan

John M. Buchanan —Photo courtesy of "The Christian Century"


The Rev. John M. Buchanan, who has informed and inspired generations of American Christians through his books, sermons and weekly columns as editor/publisher of the progressive ecumenical journal The Christian Century, has been named winner of the 2012 David Steele Distinguished Writer Award (DSDWA) by the Presbyterian Writers Guild (PWG).

The award is given biennially ― in years when the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly meets ― to a Presbyterian writer who has distinguished himself or herself in the fields of journalism, literature or scholarly writing.

Buchanan, who retired at the end of January after 48 years of ministry ― the last 26 as pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago ― will receive the award during the Presbyterian Writers Guild luncheon July 5 during the 220th PC(USA) General Assembly in Pittsburgh.

“Over the years the DSDWA has honored theologians, scientists, novelists, children’s authors, poets and journalists,” said PWG board member and chair of the award committee J. Barrie Shepherd.

“In recognizing John Buchanan, the Writers Guild is mindful of John’s concise, yet often profound editorial columns in The Christian Century which have provided the church with continuing guidance and inspiration,” Shepherd said.

Prior to Fourth Church, Buchanan pastored churches in Ohio and Indiana. He served as moderator of the 208th General Assembly (1996) of the PC(USA), and as a member of its General Assembly Council from 1996-1999. He is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and the University of Chicago Divinity School/Chicago Theological Seminary.

In addition to his writings for The Christian Century, he is the author of A New Church for a New World; Being Church, Becoming Community; and Sermons for the City.

Previous winners of the DSDWA include The Message author Eugene H. Peterson, former Presbyterian News Service director Marj Carpenter, Presbyterians Today editor Eva Stimson, novelists Doris Betts and Katherine Paterson, poet Ann Weems, Kansas City Star columnist Bill Tammeus, African American religious historian Gayraud Wilmore, essayists Kathleen Norris and Frederick Buechner, and journalists Gustav Niebuhr and Vic Jameson.


  1. I am thrilled that Rev. Buchanan is continuing as the Christian Century Editor. He is both a great Preacher and Writer. The Columbus Metroplotian Church Council is honored that he will be our 50th Anniversary Speaker this coming May 17th at Capital University.

    by Rev. Ron Hooker (Yale Graduate)

    February 8, 2012

  2. Congratulations, John from Dave and Lois


    February 8, 2012