The Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA) at their annual conference releases the judges awards and comments in the professional booklet. This year in Christchurch last month was no different.
A lot has already been written and said about the 2019 major awards but little if anything on the 22 Category Awards. This is a selection - due to limited space here, only the GOLD award in a limited number of categories are listed.
CATEGORY 4 Best News Story - GOLD “Helping Out Those in Debt” by Jade Reidy in SPANZ, Spring 2018 Jade Reidy examines the experience of local churches helping vulnerable people deal with debt, manage money and achieve ﬁnancial independence. This report is realistic and informative without feeling didactic. Over the course of the story, the reader develops empathy and understanding; a powerful combination.
CATEGORY 5 Best Feature, Single Author GOLD “‘Us not Them’: the church and homophobia” by Ingrid Barra in The War Cry, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, (Samoa Territory) A most worthy and outstanding winner out of 22 entrants in this category. Using as its basis a personal story, this is a courageous and confronting article on a vexing issue within the church. Balanced, contextual, and with appropriate sources, the structure, ﬂow and writing are near-impeccable. The ﬁnal, three-sentence paragraph is especially superbly crafted in a way that is both thought-provoking and challenging
CATEGORY 8 Best Editorial or Opinion Piece GOLD “Seeking Justice in the public square” By Jenny Brinkworth in Southern Cross (Adelaide) December 2018 This is a superbly crated editorial on a very sensitive topic. What happens when a person is found guilty and is then proven innocent? And what if that person is a church leader and subject to worldwide media attention? In the current social climate, the author risks being damned whatever she says – but shows such wisdom and compassion that few could object.
CATEGORY 10 Best Faith Reﬂection - GOLD “Live your best ordinary life” by Greg Liston, NZ Baptist (Baptist Churches of New Zealand) “Live your best ordinary life” is an extraordinary article that well and truly deserves ﬁrst place. It is thought provoking, well-written, balanced, and deeply relevant to all – especially to those of us who are faithful plodders.
Category 11 Best Theological Article GOLD “Who is this Man” By Ingrid Barra9 in War Cry, NZ, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa Territory This is one of the most eﬀective articles I have read on the theology of the incarnation. It thoroughly places Jesus as a human being as well as giving a believable divine dimension without taking away from the humanity. It rightly has an inclusive element showing Jesus as accessible to all cultures and types of humanity.
Category 12 Best Social Justice Article GOLD “Rethinking plastic — local action on a global issue” by Heather Dowling in Revive, June 2018 A well-crated, simulating article addressing the growing problem of plastic waste that provides authoritative information on the damage to wildlife and the environment in a clear, simple and readable style. The treatment is comprehensive, presenting possible action that could be taken by consumers, government and industry. The argument is humanised with an inspiring example of what one person can achieve. The article ends with practical advice on how readers can make a diﬀerence to our environment.
CATEGORY 19 Best Website - GOLD Anglican Focus. Editor, Michelle McDonald, anglicanfocus.org.au This site bears a strong resemblance to Southern Cross Adelaide in format and style. Except it makes much better use of the drop down menus for a more engaging user experience. The blue main bar is bold and striking. Stories click through easily and the font is eminently readable - much more so than other sites that have nominated. Good choice. The “photos of the month” album enables a quick scroll-through and is an engaging feature.
CATEGORY 2 Best Regional Publication GOLD The Gippsland Anglican. Editor Jan Down There was one entry that stood out in my mind, and I have given it the gold award. It is again The Gippsland Anglican. What I said last year applies well again. The open format of this tabloid invites the reader in, and it covers a wide range of topics: devotional reﬂections, proﬁles, social issues, well-written news stories from around the diocese (with well-chosen pictures), reviews, a prayer diary and a diocesan calendar. It also includes The Melbourne Anglican as an insert, taking readers well beyond the diocese, but the award is based solely on The Gippsland Anglican itself.
CATEGORY 20 Best Original Photography GOLD “Light to those who sit in darkness” The Gippsland Anglican. Photographer, Chris McAleer. The creativity involved in producing this photo is outstanding. As a cover photo, it would a3ract the reader to enquire further for the background and subject matter. Photographically, the point of interest (overhead) and the individual (lower left) are well positioned and composed
And many others - but the most humorous comment in the Awards booklet was the category ‘Most Humorous Article’ – the judges awarded – no not one ….
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at