On May 5, the Canadian Christian Communicators Association held its annual awards ceremony showcasing the best in faith-based writing, design and content creation for the 2021 season. Christian Courier (CC) competed against at least 18 other publications and received 10 awards, including first place in the Feature Article, Interview and Photo Essay categories.
“They’ve combined a lot of categories so that now we’re competing against bigger publications,” explained Editor Angela Reitsma Bick in an email to CC staff back in February. “I’m expecting our award count to drop a little bit as a result.”
But competing against magazines with larger readerships was no barrier for the fine work in this paper’s pages and online spaces. By the end of the night, CC’s award count was actually higher than last year’s. This included a third-place win for Art Director Maaike Vandermeer in a brand-new category honouring Excellence in Email Newsletters.
Asking good questions
Features Editor Amy MacLachlan won first place for her Feature article “Would Jesus Buy Bitcoin?” in which she unpacks the ways cryptocurrency is impacting churches and charities. The judge called the piece “current yet avant-garde” and applauded McLachlan’s investigative approach.
Reitsma Bick’s conversation with YouTubers Joey and Dana Hulst from May 2021 won first for best Interview. “I interviewed Joey & Dana from a closet while homeschooling,” she recalls. “At that time, they were working from home too; but despite how upside down everything felt, our conversation was wide-ranging & easy.” The natural chemistry between Bick and the Hulst sisters was the winning factor. “You could sense a great connection between the interviewer and the interviewees,” commented the judge. This is music to Reitsma Bick’s ears. “I really appreciate [the Hulst sisters’] sincere faith and how they’re bridging a gap between the LGBTQ community and their faith community. They’re creating a lively, warm space in the middle of that mix.”
“We never expected to win an award for this article, yet it makes complete sense because working with Angela was such a great experience,” Joey and Dana Hulst said. “We hope that this article and our YouTube channel continue to further conversations about and with the LGBTQ community.”
Coming together to create space for dialogue was a theme for CC over the past year, and many of our wins were only possible through teamwork. Our “Uplifting Words” Feature Series won third place thanks to the thoughtful mid-pandemic encouragements penned by John Joosse, Brian Djikema, Rod Hugen, Jacqui Mignault, Michael DeMoor, Ralph Pot, Jonathan Nicolai-deKoning, Richard Bodini and Peter Slofstra. Maaike Vandermeer’s illustrations brought it all to life!
Collaboration between Crystal Hao and Maaike Vandermeer on the Photo Essay “The Paradox of Beauty” earned the pair first place. The essay revels in the diversity of the created world, from multicultural streetscapes to the tiniest flowering plant. “Through the little lens I started to see the beauty of God’s creation. My natural response to his glory was to capture that beauty,” reflects Hao.
The heart of it all
Reviews Editor and Columnist Brian Bork won second place for his 2021 Columns that captured the full range of human emotions from “the level of mirth in a room where 120 tacos are consumed” to the shock and grief that comes when young people pass away. Bork’s writing reflects the big questions and hard conversations that come with the territory of his campus ministry work at the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University.
“The Man I’ve Become” by Brian Liu won second place for Best Original Artwork. Liu’s autobiographical collage on the topic of racism and mental health was part of an exhibit hosted at Regent College in Vancouver, B.C. When Editor Angela Reitsma Bick asked Liu to share about his creative process, Liu said “Instead of a general response to race, faith and mental health, I took a personal approach. That’s why I chose a photo of myself. It was important to portray myself in both time periods – today and when I first came to Canada.”
Digital and design
Do you remember the time CC printed our cover sideways? We called it “The Disruption Issue.” Designer Kevin Tamming’s creative juxtaposition of art and poetry gave us all a new perspective and earned third place in the Newspaper Front Page category.
CC also snatched third place in two more categories: Best Marketing Campaign and General Excellence in Website. Both of those projects were team efforts and depended upon the strategic and creative thinking of Editor Angela Reitsma Bick, Art Director Maaike Vandermeer, Web Designer Michael Krakowiak, Designers Kevin Tamming and Naomi Francois and Assistant Editor Meghan Kort.
Thank you for subscribing and supporting CC! Your commitment to redemptive journalism makes all of this good work possible. We dedicate all of these wins to you, our dear readers.