On Saturday 4th September 2021 at the Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA) Awards, New Zealand Baptists, through the Baptist magazine, received some great accolades for work done in communication. 

We congratulate these people listed below for their high achievements. We also acknowledge Linda Grigg, who was the Editor of the Baptist magazine giving leadership to it not only through this past award season, but also through to the conclusion of the printed Baptist magazine in February this year. We thank God for the creativity of these people, and for their work in honing the skills of communication in this way. 

ARPA is an ecumenical Christian communication network for Australian and New Zealand publications and their editors, journalists, designers and contributors. We include the judges comments below, as well as an update on the replacement of the printed Baptist magazine. 

Award winners 


Best Design – Magazine

Rebecca McLeay (Graphic Designer, Baptist National Centre | Mount Albert Baptist Church) 


Best faith reflection Life after lockdown 

Greg Liston (Lecturer in systematic theology, Laidlaw College | Mount Albert Baptist Church) 


Best theological article Kingdom come

Greg Liston (Lecturer in systematic theology, Laidlaw College | Mount Albert Baptist Church) 


Best social justice article The church and racial justice

Jennie Ekigbo (Racial Justice Advocate and Be the Bridge Aotearoa NZ Co-leader | Hillsborough Baptist Church/Hills Church) 


Best editorial/opinion piece Imitating Christ, earning influence

Christa McKirland (Lecturer in systematic theology Carey Baptist College, Logia International Executive Director | Royal Oak Baptist Church) 

Judges comments

Best Design Magazine GOLD

Rebecca McLeay (Graphic Designer)

Issues: April/May v136 n2August/September v136 n4October/November v136 n5 

Judges comment for all entries in this category:

Thank you for the selection of entries, it was a delight to study and read your entries. Overall, good covers. Some covers were clear and strong, with consistency in font between the issues, connecting the publication and the reader. Page design was excellent for all entries, with a readable font that was easy on the eye, and good layouts. Well done everyone. The publications were all edited scrupulously well, which made it a pleasure to read the diversity of interesting stories. It was very hard to choose between Gold and Silver awardees. 

Best faith reflection GOLD

Life after lockdown – Greg Liston 

Judges comments:

In a year of natural disasters, pandemics and lockdowns, it makes sense to ponder the seeming senselessness of it all, and wonder where is God in all of this? This poignant article, written in everyday language, is a powerful reflection on all that we have experienced in a relatively short period of time and seeks to answer the eternal question: Why the suffering? Through the focus of New Zealand’s shock at these experiences, it explores how we can make sense of these awful events. It offers comfort amid the turmoil and cites plenty of Scripture passages to illustrate that suffering is not new to the world and that it is not pointless. In the end the author offers us the lesson of hope that God is with us through it all and His promise that Heaven will be so much greater. This article goes to the heart of the Christian message and is a most worthy Gold prize winner. 

Best theological article GOLD

Kingdom come – Greg Liston 

Judges comments:

The Gold award article provided a timely comment on and reminder about one part of the Lord’s Prayer, facilitating a journey of consideration with depth and understanding. A relevant piece in these COVID-19 times. 
There is an art to communicating theological and biblical ideas in an accessible way. ARPA publications are not meant to be peer reviewed specialist journals, but they should provide intelligent and helpful articles that show respect for the reader. These three articles [bronze, silver, and gold in this category] engaged with the general reader, while encouraging them to go further in personal reflection. 

Best social justice article SILVER

The church and racial justice – Jennie Ekigbo 

Judges comments:

2020 was the year that racial injustice was brought into the consciousness of those with power and privilege in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. Whilst our Indigenous populations have suffered from racial injustice and racial inequity for centuries, it took racial injustice in the USA and a global voice of “Black Lives Matter” to highlight work for the church to do both in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. This article, by emphasising Jesus' central message of justice, shone a light on the systemic and structural racism, gave five clear steps for people to take action, and pointed to the need for Indigenous voices and leadership to lead the way. 

Best editorial/opinion piece HIGHLY COMMENDED

Imitating Christ, earning influence – Christa McKirland 

Judges Comments: 

A personal message from the heart about Christian leadership—which, as Jesus demonstrated, is about serving rather than dominating others. 
Articles in this category were generally of a very high standard—there were very few grammatical or other errors, and layouts were often striking. Winners were hard to choose; those making the cut addressed topical issues in an especially insightful way. 

A new direction for the Baptist magazine

These ARPA awards will be the last coming from the print version of the Baptist magazine era as we have known it—we hope they won’t be the last awards, with the expectation that excellent content and design will continue to be produced and shared through a new communication mechanism.

Mike Crudge has been appointed as Communications Director, an audit of our current comms is being done, and the first stages of a new communication architecture is being designed alongside consultation. Keep an eye out this summer for the Baptist magazine replacement.

Contributor: Mike Crudge, Communications Director, Baptist Churches of New Zealand

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