19 June 2024

Melbourne priest, TMA honoured at religious press awards

By Mark Brolly

The flagship publication of Ethos: the Evangelical Centre for Christianity and Society, which is led by Melbourne Anglican priest and academic the Revd Dr Gordon Preece, has won the premier honour of the Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA), the Gutenberg Award.

Zadok Perspectives and Papers, of which Dr Preece has been Commissioning Editor for 20 years, was announced as winner of the Gutenberg at an online event after ARPA’s annual general meeting on 4 September.

TMA took out three awards for material published in 2020 under former Editor Ms Emma Halgren – a silver award for Best Review, ‘A call for “real engagement across borders” by faithful Anglicans’ by the Revd Luke Hopkins, Vicar of St Martin’s Hawksburn; silver for Best Cover for a Newspaper by TMA’s designer Ivan Smith, February 2020’s coverage of the bushfires in Mallacoota; and a bronze award for Best Original Illustration, ‘He is risen’, our April 2020 Easter cover by Indigenous artist and priest the Revd Robyn Davis,

TMA was honoured with the Gutenberg Award an unprecedented three times under long-serving Editor Mr Roland Ashby – in 1998, 2006 and 2015 (the latter with Mr Ashby as co-winner). Its predecessor as the newspaper of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, See, won the Gutenberg in 1994 under Mrs Angela Grutzner.

Dr Preece has served at several Anglican churches in Sydney, lectured at Ridley College in Parkville and, alongside his work at Ethos, was Senior Minister of St Mark’s Anglican Church, Spotswood in the Anglican Parish of Yarraville until last year. He is Director of the University of Divinity’s Centre for Research in Religion and Social Policy (RASP) and Chair of the Melbourne Anglican Social Responsibilities Committee.

ARPA’s President, Ms Sophia Sinclair, said in her citation for Zadok: “Now a coffee-table type magazine, Zadok Perspectives and Papers had humble beginnings as a newsletter and Study Papers for members and subscribers as part of the Zadok Institute for Christianity and Society.

“Named after Zadok the Priest who anointed the Kings of Israel, Zadok Perspectives and Papers is about the public life of God’s scattered people—on Monday not Sunday—in their personal, professional, and public lives. These spheres are linked by a theology of engagement with everyday life seasoning secular society.

“Gordon Preece (Commissioning Editor for 20 years and Ethos Director) and Armen Gakavian (Coordinating Editor and Associate Director) lead a range of contributors from all walks of life in producing the quarterly publication.

Zadok Perspectives and Papers exemplifies religious journalism that is unafraid to engage deeply with current issues preoccupying the public sphere: the COVID19 pandemic, Religions and Human Rights, Surveillance Capitalism, and more.

“With the aim of ‘helping Christians disagree amicably in preparation for engaging the pluralism of the wider world’ Zadok Perspectives is a prescient publication for our society.

“(Johannes) Gutenberg was a great technological contributor to the Reformation through his printing presses, multiplying Luther’s liberating and prolific pen. Today, Zadok Perspectives and Papers continues that tradition, so that the voices of the priesthood of all believers might echo through the everyday and eternity.

“It is therefore my great pleasure to award the Gutenberg Award for 2021 to Zadok Perspectives and Papers.”

Zadok also won gold for Best Column.

Eureka Street, a publication of Richmond-based Jesuit Media that began in 1991 as a magazine and is now wholly online, was named Publication of the Year.

The judges said Eureka Street “has an authenticity of voice, and fidelity to the Gospel”. “Grounded in the social teachings of the Catholic Church, it addresses issues both national and international, and gives readers access to some of Australia’s the best public intellectuals.

“The critical edge to Eureka Street offers a necessary critique (and a corrective) to much of the rubbish we read in so-called mainstream media in Australia.”

In the Best Review category, for which gold was awarded to Eternity News, the judges said: “A good review explores how well the content is enhanced by the medium, and relates it to some relevant issue of its time or its community. The reader also knows whether to seek out the subject of the review—or avoid it. A very close-run category.”

The judges said in part of Mr Smith’s design in the Best Cover for a Newspaper category, won by NZ Catholic: “TMA used an excellent photo with a very apt top left coverline to create a cover that was purely illustrative of the Australian bushfire disasters.”

And of Ms Davis’ artwork in the Best Original Illustration, won by The Gippsland Anglican: “The art work is outstanding. There is a sense of incorporating many people and the brightness in the art work enforces the presentation of ‘He is Risen’.”

The Gippsland Anglican, edited by Ms Sally Woollett and into which TMA is inserted in that diocese, won four awards – gold for Best Original Illustration, silver in Best Regional publication, and bronze awards for Best Faith Reflection and for Best Social Justice Article – and was highly commended in the Best Feature by a Single Author category.

Soul Tread, a print-only faith magazine launched in 2020 and edited by its founder Rachael Lopezreceived five awards, including gold for Best Headline.

Ms Lopez, who has been a contributor to TMA, spent a year at Lambeth Palace, London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, with her husband the Revd Jonathan Lopez, in the inaugural Community of St Anselm, an interdenominational and international young adult community.

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