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Visitor Named “Best Denominational Magazine”

Story by Visitor Staff

Meet the Staff: Kelly Butler Coe, art director and designer; Beth Michaels, associate editor; Celeste Ryan Blyden, editor and publisher; Sandra Jones, copy editor and bulletin board editor; Taashi Rowe, assistant editor.

The Associated Church Press (ACP) recently bestowed a high honor on the Columbia Union Visitor, naming it Best in Class among denominational magazines. Visitor associate editor Beth Michaels accepted the award at the ACP’s annual Best of the Christian Press banquet during the last weekend of April.

“Our goal every month is to plan and publish a quality news magazine that will inspire readers and keep them connected to the Columbia Union family,” says Celeste Ryan Blyden, editor and publisher. “This award acknowledges our hard work and says we’re doing something right.”

Founded in 1916, the ACP ( is the oldest interdenominational religious press association in North America. Members include writers, editors, designers and other communicators from Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Seventh-day Adventist organizations, etc. From some 1,000 submissions in 60 categories, judges this year chose just over 200 winners from entries published in newspapers, newsletters, magazines, news services, eZines and websites and recognized them with honorable mentions and awards of merit or excellence. “Best in Class” is the top award.

Joe Thoma, ACP’s executive director, explained why the Visitor, a first-time entrant, stood out from its peers: “In my discussion with the judges and the awards committee, they were particularly impressed with the magazine’s bold use of color photos. Especially impressive are the full-spread and full-page, full-bleed pieces that integrated the art and typography in a way that should be an inspiration to other publications in the field. Composition and reproduction are excellent.”

Blyden also won an Award of Merit for her feature article, “Suitcases with Wheels,” which covered the annual holiday dinner for homeless women sponsored by Potomac Conference’s Beltsville (Md.) church. The Adventist Review, Adventist World and Ministry were also recognized for work in 2010.

Other Visitor Awards

• 2008 DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Shoestring Award for the AudioVisitor Podcast
• 2007 Religion Communicators Council (RCC) Award of Merit for the 25th Columbia Union Constituency Session Print Report
• 2007 RCC Award of Merit for Celeste Ryan Blyden’s Crisis Management Guide
• 2006 RCC Award of Excellence for the President’s Constituency Report Video produced by Celeste Ryan Blyden and David Brillhart
• 2004 RCC Award of Excellence for the 2004 Visitor Calendar
• 2005 Illustrators Club of Washington, Maryland and Virginia Certificate of Merit, for the June Visitor Cover Illustration by Ralph Butler with art direction by Kelly Butler Coe
• 2004 Illustrators Club Certificate of Excellence for the December Visitor Cover Illustration by Ralph Butler with art direction by Kelly Butler Coe