Three religious press awards for TMA contributors and staff

The Melbourne Anglican awarded gold and silver medals by the Australasian Religious Press Association conference

By Emma Halgren

September 11 2019The Melbourne Anglican (TMA) has won three awards – two of them gold as the best in their categories – at this year’s Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA) conference dinner in Christchurch, New Zealand. The awards covered items published in 2018.

The April 2018 (Easter) edition of TMA won the gold award for Best Cover (Newspaper). The cover featured the painting “The Promise” by Anglican priest the Revd Robyn Davis, a Wadi Wadi woman from the Balranald and Swan Hill area. Robyn Davis is the Director of Walkabout Ministries, Indigenous Adviser to the Anglican Bishop of Bendigo, Koori liaison officer for Bendigo Diocese and a member of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglican Council.

The Revd Dr Bob Mitchell, who is CEO of Anglican Overseas Aid, won the gold award for Best Review for his review of There Is More: When the World Says You Can't, God Says You Can by Hillsong’s Brian Houston, which was published in the December 2018 issue of TMA.

The judges commented: “The positive things which the reviewer recognises are praised. Then follows a critique of the substance of the book and the reviewer's personal theological position is made clear. The readers are given sufficient information to make up their own minds if this is a book that they might choose to read, and sufficient guidelines to think beyond the contents of the book.”

TMA’s designer Ivan Smith, who is also an artist, won the silver award for Best Original Illustration for his painting “Witnessing to the light”, which was on the cover of the December 2018 edition of TMA. Ivan wrote of this artwork: “John 1:9 and 12 tells us, ‘The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world... to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’. God’s great redemptive plan reaches its zenith in Jesus – Emmanuel ‘God with us’. The Good News of reconciliation with God and the graceful, wonderful status of being children of God, empowered by the Spirit of Jesus, encourages us to hand on the light in a long line of faithful Christian light-witnesses started by the shepherds long ago.”

The judges said of Ivan's painting that it was “an engaging illustration that captures the idea of passing on the great gift of God's light and love that was His gift to us at Christmas. Thoughtfully executed and quietly challenging to the audience.”

The award for Best Regional Publication went to The Gippsland Anglican, whose editor Jan Down is to finish up later this year after six years in the role. Gippsland's diocesan paper also won the gold award for best original photography, for a photo by the Revd Chris McAleer at Nar Nar Goon which appeared on the 2018 Christmas cover.

ARPA’s premier award, the Gutenberg, was awarded to Press Service International (PSI), a ministry of Well-Being Australia with a focus on providing articles for the Christian press, particularly Christian Today Australia. Outgoing ARPA President Peter Bentley said of PSI that it offered “straightforward writing with integrity”. “Young writers have been recruited from a wide range of backgrounds and countries and provide a range of viewpoints about everyday life and the ethical and theological issues of the day, and a helpful voice within the Public Christianity arena in Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

“PSI has enabled the mentoring of young writers as columnists, encouraging their involvement in professional organisations like ARPA, attending conferences and active involvement now in the ARPA executive.”

The Publication of the Year award was won by Eureka Street, an online publication of Jesuit Communications.