The winners of the final phase of the Presbyterian Writers Guild (PWG) three-phase writing contest have been selected. 

In the first phase of the contest—inspired by Jesus’ practice of teaching with parables—authors were invited to submit an opening hook for a story. In the second phase, they were asked to compose a flash fiction of about 1,000 words. The third phase called for a short story of under 4,000 words. 

For the short story phase, the winners are:

  • First Place—Melissa Bane Sevier, Versailles, Kentucky; “Awareness”;
  • Second Place—Lori Herter, Santa Ana, Calif.; “The Outsider”;
  • Third Place—Henry Brinton, Fairfax, Virginia; “Resolution”;
  • Fourth Place—Lara MacGregor, Old Mill Creek, Illinois; “The River.”

“These modern-day parables addressed a variety of concerns, and, like the parables of Jesus, force the reader to think more deeply about the issues,” said PWG board member, the Rev. Stephen McCutchan, who coordinated the contest on behalf of the Guild. “Issues like spouse abuse, hunger, hospitality to strangers, vampires, and the wisdom of children are fleshed out in these stories.” 

The top eight opening hooks, four flash fiction stories, and eight short stories—plus a children’s story and a poem—have been published by the Guild in “An Experiment in Modern Parables,” which be available for sale at the 222nd General Assembly in Portland, Oregon, and on Amazon. The Guild will celebrate the winners at its GA luncheon on June 23. 

“We celebrate the creativity within the Presbyterian community,” McCutchan said.