Words ‘can change people’s lives’, George reminds writers

“We don’t write alone.”

Denise George offered uplifting words to this year’s Southern Christian Writers’ Conference after receiving the 2022 Joanne Sloan National Award for Encouragement of Writers.

“God calls you to this, and if he calls you he will equip you,” she said.

George offered five points to the writers gathered Friday night for the awards dinner:

  1. Encourage each other
  2. Trust God
  3. Pray
  4. Accept encouragement from others
  5. Protect your heart and writing time from discouragement

George also reminded those gathered that the calling they have is not something to be taken lightly.

Writers need to take care of themselves emotionally, mentally, and spiritually because “writing is serious business.”

“People read our words and those words can change people’s lives,” George said.

“You have a story”

This year’s conference, held at Valley View Baptist Church, Leeds, on June 3-4, also featured numerous workshops on a variety of topics ranging from social media and podcasting to auto -editing and writing in different genres.

Two keynote speakers were also present: Sean Dietrich and Hallee Bridgeman.

Dietrich, the Friday night speaker, told his story of being an elementary school dropout to a published author.

In Saturday’s keynote, Hallee Bridgeman spoke about the importance of the stories told by artists.

Whether it’s music, art, design, sports or writing, there are moments that capture the imagination of culture – and sometimes the world -, said Bridgeman. These mediums inspire like nothing else can. They inspire humanity to believe that there is something greater than the fallen and broken world in which we live.

The conference concluded with the recognition of the winners of the 2022 SCWC Writing Awards.

And the winners are…

In the newspaper article category, first place went to Tracy Riggs for “Father, Forgive Them,” published in The Alabama Baptist; second place went to Jan White for “God takes our broken pieces, creates beauty”, published in Andalous Star-News; and third place went to Bill King for “Something Ugly Can Become Something Beautiful,” published in the Opelika Auburn News.

In the magazine article category, first place went to Laura Lee Leathers for “A Common Thread make Treasured Friends,” published in Mississippi Christian Living; second place went to Shelly McClanahan for “Who Calls You Friend?”, published in Just Between Us; and third place went to Vicki Creel for “The Empty Tomb and Resurrection Power: A Holy Land Experience,” in The Anniston Gadsden Christian Family.

In the poetry category, first place went to Leisl Lemire for “Love is Being Rhyme”, published on the SCWC blog; second place went to April McCay for “Closer to God,” published in The Cullman Tribune; and third place went to Susan Hester for “Untitled”, published in The Write Inspiration.

In the short story category, first place went to Ann Nunnally for “Annie’s Gift”, published in “Gritty Southern Christmas Anthology”; second place went to Becky “Coffee and Cookies with God”; and third place went to Sharon Atwoood for “Labyrinth of Mental Illness”, published in “Triumph from Tragedy”; and an honorable mention went to Karen Allen for “Blessings in Disguise”, published in “Gritty Southern Christmas Anthology”.

In the blog post category, the first place went to Sandi Herron for “September – a day to remember”; second place went to Beverly Smith for “Playing My Dad’s Guitar Makes Me Smile”; third place went to Kristy Ensor for “Simply Abide”; and honorable mentions went to Terri Miller for “Substance and Evidence”; and Shannon Leech for “Worth the Wait”.

In the category letter to the editor, first place goes to Shirley Crowder for a letter in The Baptist Paper; second place went to Grace Morgan for a letter in the Jackson County Times; and third place went to Tracy Riggs for a letter in The Alabama Baptist.

“Edification and Encouragement”

SCWC director Cheryl Wray took over the conference four years ago from her parents David and Joanne Sloan, who founded it in 1991.

“Thank you for being here,” Wray said during the closing session. “You all uplifted and encouraged me this weekend.”

To view a photo gallery of the conference, go to tabonline.org/2022-SCWC.