In one of my previous lives, I used to be a religious, church-going person, and I loved Easter. I loved the pageantry, the celebration, the liturgy, and the opportunity to eat the heads of chocolate bunnies. To me, however, Easter did not stand alone. It was part of a whole package that included the Lenten season, Good Friday and the dark period between Jesus' death and resurrection. Being the good pastor's wife that I used to be, I dragged my four children to every service leading up to Easter: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday (sometimes two services), and Saturday prayer vigils. We also fasted, as a family, from the communion served at the Maundy Thursday service to the communion served at the sunrise service Easter morning. Since there were often three services on Easter, we were pretty churched out by Sunday afternoon, but liberal amounts of chocolate eggs, marshmallow chicks and homemade cinnamon rolls usually perked us right up.
I don't go to church anymore and I don't miss it much. The one thing I do miss, however, is the Saturday prayer vigils. There was something mystical about that time of quiet solitude in the church that fed my soul. Sometimes I used the aids left in the pew to help guide my thoughts, but other times I just let my mind go where it would wander as I thought about the world being without God for that short time before Christ rose again. Or, I would think about what to buy for dinner at the grocery store on my way home. Sometimes my mind has a hard time keeping focused.
If your mind turns to spiritual matters during Christian holy days, as mine does, perhaps there's an article lurking there that would appeal to one of these Christian periodicals.
The Christian Century
104 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 700
Chicago, IL 60603
Contact: David Heim, Executive Editor
This mainline Christian magazine is one of the oldest and most prestigious publications for ecumenically-minded, progressive Protestants. Established in 1884, it has a circulation of 30,000 and is 90% freelance written. Authors should be familiar with issues facing the church today and be well versed in contemporary theology. Many readers are familiar with the main themes of Christianity, Christian history and are not threatened by the historical-critical method of studying the Bible.
Nonfiction needs are for articles dealing with social problems, ethical dilemmas, political issues, and theological and ecclesiastical matters. Essays, humor, opinion and interview pieces are used. Inspirational pieces are not desired. Length is 1,000 to 3,000 words. Pays $75-150 for unsolicited material. Fiction needs are for humorous, religious, and slice of life vignettes. They do not want moralistic fiction. Length is 1,000 to 3,000 words. Pays $75-200. Poetry is also accepted. Send to poetry editor, Jill Pelaez Baumgaerter. Only avant-garde, free verse, haiku and traditional poems are accepted. Length is 20 lines and pay is $50.
Tips: They are looking for manuscripts that discuss the meaning of faith in our culture and society, applying Christian resources to such topics as poverty, human rights, justice, and national concerns. "We welcome articles that find fresh meaning in old traditions and which adapt or apply religious traditions to new circumstances."
R.R. 1, Box 4510
Dillwyn, VA 23936
Contact: Patti Cramer, editorial associate
This annual literary magazine is focused on spiritually-related topics for the educated, intellectual reader. Established in 1985, it is 90% freelance written. Nonfiction needs in 2005 are for articles about relationships. Passages will be the theme for 2006, and Discovering Heavenly Realms is slated for 2007. They accept essays, interviews and profiles. Length should not exceed 3,000 and pay is $50-150 for unsolicited articles. Fiction is also accepted, although shorter fiction has a better chance of being published. Accepted fiction genres are adventure, experimental, historical, mainstream, mystery, science fiction, contemporary, spiritual, and sports. No religious fiction. Length cannot exceed 3,000 words and payment is $50-150. Avant ?garde and traditional poems are accepted. A maximum of six poems can be submitted and payment is $25, plus five copies of the issue.
The Plain Truth
Christianity Without the Religion
Plain Truth Ministries
300 W. Green St.
Pasadena, CA 91129
Contact: Phyllis Duke, assistant editor
This bimonthly magazine is 90% freelance written and was established in 1945. Circulation is 70,000. "We seek to reignite the flame of shattered lives by illustrating the joy of a new life in Christ." Nonfiction needs are inspirational, interview, religious, and personal experience articles. No unsolicited manuscripts are accepted; query with published clips. Length is 750-2,500 words. Pay is 25 cents a word.
Tips: Use vivid, descriptive language and anecdotes to describe Biblical solutions to real problems. All articles should be well-researched and biblically accurate with convincing arguments offered to support thesis. Avoid being too scholarly.
205 W. Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60606
Contact: Fran Hurst, editorial assistant
Established in 1935, this magazine covers Roman Catholic spirituality. It is 100% freelance written and has a circulation of 40,000 readers. Nonfiction needs are for essays, inspirational, opinion, religious and personal experience articles. Length is 2,500 to 3,500 words. Pays $250-600. Fiction needs are for ethnic, mainstream, religious, and slice-of-life vignettes. Length is 2,500 to 3,000 words. Payment is $300. Free verse poetry is also accepted. No more than five poems can be submitted at one time and the length cannot exceed 50 lines. Payment is $75.
Tips: "We invite and help our readers explore the wisdom of their faith tradition and apply their faith to the challenges of the 21st century.