Mississauga, Ont. — Peter Schuurman has won first place in the category of Article — Long Feature in the Word Awards, a national writing competition sponsored by the Word Guild. His 2013 Christian Courier article “Fractured Flocks: A Leadership Crisis in the CRC?” investigated the steep increase in pastor-church splits within the Christian Reformed denomination.
Schuurman is working on his PhD in Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo from his home in Guelph. Now on Christian Courier’s Editorial Advisory Board, he’s written for CC for 17 years. This is the first time his work has won national recognition for its excellence. It is also, he reflects wryly, the first time he’s entered such a competition.
The Word Awards, known as the premier event celebrating “the work of Canadian writers who are Christian,” were announced at a gala on June 11. Twenty-eight categories include non-fiction books, novels, articles, columns, poems and song lyrics — all original work published in the previous year in publications as diverse as Christianity Today and Convivium Magazine. There were hundreds of entries in total.
Six other CC writers were finalists for a combined 13 articles: Emily Cramer, Glenda Dekkema-DeVries, Angela Reitsma Bick, Derek Schuurman, Cathy Smith and Heidi VanderSlikke. Such recognition for a relatively small publication is a considerable honour.
“It’s really nice to see that our work in Christian Courier is part of something larger,” Schuurman says. “To be in a room where people share a love for crafting just-the-right-words is a pleasure. It renews my inspiration to write for others.”