“First Call” Writing Contest

You may be selected for publication in Sharing the Practice, complimentary APC membership, and a trip to the APC’s next Annual Conference!

Deadline March 1, 2018

We understand that not every tradition uses the term “First Call.” This contest is for faith leaders who currently serve, or have recently completed serving, for the first time in a professional leadership role in a ministry setting. There is no maximum tenure limit in your ministry setting. For instance, if you have served your first community for a dozen years, you may still apply.


Please submit an article for the APC’s quarterly journal Sharing the Practice that will highlight one or two unique challenges of the “first call”, your practice of ministry used to meet those challenges, and theological reflection upon the experience.

We invite applicants to write on issues within their traditions, but asked to ensure that the essay is written for an audience that crosses traditions.

The intent of this essay is to encourage you to reflect upon your first years of ministry, and to offer insight which might be helpful to others in similar situations. Focusing on a specific challenge unique to that period in your ministry, explore what you have learned and are learning about about:

the practice of ministry,
yourself as faith leader, and/or
the theology behind your experience.

Articles within the range of 1500 to 2500 words should be submitted by March 1, 2018  in Microsoft Word format to Rev. Barbara Lohrbach, contest chair, at WritingContest@APClergy.org. A committee will review the entries and select the winner

Attach to your submission a short biography, including professional ministry history, ordination/authorization date, as well as authorizing body.


Up to two articles will be selected for publication in an upcoming issue of Sharing the Practice. Winners of the selected articles will be given an honorary one-year membership in the APC, complimentary registration at the next Annual Conference, and a grant of up to $300 for travel to the conference to receive the award.

Prior Winning Essays

  • 2014 “Young Face, Old Faith” by Rev. Stephen L. Hawkins, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Beloit, WI.
  • 2012 “The Medium is the Message: Christian Lessons of Embodiment For a Digitizing World” by Rev. David E. Lower, Senior Pastor, Winnetka Presbyterian Church, Winnetka, IL.
  • 2012 “Dream or Nightmare: Mid-wife to an Ancient/Future Church” by Rev. Dr. Gil Stafford, Vicar of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Parish and Chaplain for the Episcopal Campus Ministry (known as St. Brigid’s Community) at Arizona State University.
  • 2011 “Visiting: The Surprising Gift of Pastoral Care for Shut-ins” by Rev. Julie G. Olmsted, Trinity United Church, Hatfield, Massachusetts
  • 2011 “Grace in the Midst of Change” by Pastor Jean Pagliaro,Halfway Creek Lutheran Church, Holmen, Wisconsin