First Call Pastors Writing Contest 2010

Congratulations to Rev. Jean Pagliaro, Pastor of Half Way Creek Lutheran Church in Holmen WI, and Rev. Julie Olmsted, Pastor of First Congregational Church in Hatfield MA!

Articles written by Rev. Pagliaro and Rev. Olmsted have been selected as winners in the First Call Writing Contest sponsored by the Academy.  Contest entrants were asked to write about transformative experiences in their first call in ministry, and their own role in these experiences. 

Rev. Pagliaro and Rev. Olmsted were each awarded a grant, for registration and travel to attend the Annual Conference of the Academy in Oviedo FL, February 15-17, 2011, where Dr. Martin Marty is the keynote speaker.  They will lead a discussion of their articles in a special session at the Conference.

"Grace in the Midst of Change" by Rev. Jean Pagliaro, and "Visiting: The Surprising Gift of Pastoral Care for Shut-Ins" by Rev. Julie Olmsted, have been published in the Winter, 2010 issue of the Academy's Sharing the Practice journal.


Detailed Specifications


To pastors serving their first parish or who have recently completed a first call pastorate to submit an article for the Academy’s quarterly journal Sharing the Practice that will illumine the unique challenge(s) of the “first call” pastorate, the deployment of the spiritual gifts of pastor and people, and theological reflection upon the experience.


Any pastor who has been serving a first pastorate for one year up to 7 years, or has completed such pastorate within the last year by time of submission. Open only to pastors serving parish congregations.

Focus Questions:

How is your congregation engaging the 21st century in ministry & mission?

Where have you found God at work in your ministry & congregation?

Things to consider when writing your article that will be of interest to our readers:

  • Transformative experiences, surprises of grace, theological growth.
  • Process of leadership, decision-making, planning, and implementation toward mission and ministry. The means of assessing effectiveness.
  • The role of lay leadership, member involvement, congregational decision-making, pastoral support and leadership.
  • Demons you may have confronted, obstacles overcome, resources used, the power of prayer, and courageous action.
  • Challenges that you did not anticipate, resources/strategies/modalities you employed, and resources you wish had been available to you.

It will be helpful to give specific examples and to go deep in explaining dynamics. You may focus on changing the culture of the congregation, or evolving ministry style, or you may describe the development of a specific ministry or mission.


Two articles will be selected for the December 2010 issue of Sharing the Practice. Writers of selected articles will be given a grant of $600* for registration and travel to the Annual Conference of the Academy at Canterbury Retreat Center in Oviedo, Florida, February 15-17, 2011. Dr. Martin Marty will be the Conference Presenter.

*room/board/registration-$225; $375 travel allowance

Deadline: October 15, 2010


Articles within the range of 1500 to 2500 words should be submitted in Microsoft Word format to Rev. David Imhoff at

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

Additional information available from Rev. Bill Youngkin at

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