“First Call” Writing Contest

We understand that not every tradition uses the term “First Call.” This contest is for persons who are currently serving, or have recently completed serving, for the first time in a professional role of leadership in a spiritual community (ministry) that wish to attend the Academy’s Annual Conference. There is no maximum time limit. 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 illumine one or two unique challenges of the “first call”, your practice of ministry used to meet those challenges, and theological reflection upon the experience. Applicants are invited 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 pastor, and/or
  • the theology behind your experience

Articles within the range of 1500 to 2500 words should be submitted by December 1, 2017 in Microsoft Word format to John Hugus, 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. Writers of selected articles will be given an honorary one-year membership in the APC, complimentary registration at, and a grant of up to $350 for travel to, the Annual Conference of the Academy at the Canterbury Retreat Center in Oviedo (near Orlando), Florida to be held February 23-25, 2016.


To view a list of prior years’ winning essays and authors, Click here