The Beacon Lights Literary Contest

Into the simmering kettle of theoretical debate as to whether or not the Protestant Reformed Churches have anything to contribute in the area of creative writing, Beacon Lights tosses a practical morsel.  Let us find out by actual observation.  Thus is conceived the Beacon Lights Literary Contest.  Its birth, optimistically, will follow.

A committee of four drew up the Staff  approved rules for the contest.  These rules appear at the close of this article.  Several pertinent facts demand stress.  No member of the PRC is barred from entering, be he eight or eight.  The Contest is not solely or even primarily for the young people but rather for the benefit of every, dare I say it, artistically inclined Protestant Reformed person.

Secondly, no one ought to hesitate because of his failure to meet “modern” literary standards.  Thankfully there is not as yet within our churches the almost celestial dictum that a poet is acknowledged great according to the intensity of his un-intelligibility, so that all would-be-poets frantically strive for absolute non-communication with everyone or as Nietzsche put it, “muddle their water that it may seem deep.”  What constitutes the necessary “artistic quality” must be the decision of the individual contributor and, decidingly, of the judges.  “Truth content” finds its place in the basis of judgment lest anyone’s creative impulse, called “the old man” by author Feikema, turn out indeed to be the Old Man.   Beacon Lights has no desire to foster Balzaes and Behans.

Simply enough, the two divisions are prose (any form) and poetry.  One may enter either or both of the categories.

We are attempting to obtain two judges within and one outside our Churches.  Deadline for entries is October 5, 1961.  The winning contributions will appear in the December ‘61 or January ‘62 issue of Beacon Lights.

Grade school, high school, and college students:  teachers; housewives; ministers; pensioners; and laborers:   consider yourselves urged to contribute.

Now follows the list of rules, compiled by the committee (Jim Jonker – chairman, Roger Harbin, Nancy Heemstra, Mary Beth Lubbers).




  1. Any Beacon Lights reader who is either a baptized or confessing member of the PRC may enter.
  2. Entries may be submitted in either or both categories: poetry, and prose, which includes essays, stories, drama.  There is no limit to the number of entries which may be submitted by any one person.
  3. Entries must be in the following form: all entries must be typewritten; the title, but not the name of the entrant, should appear on the entry.  On a separate sheet should appear the name of entrant, the type of entry, and the title of entry.
  4. All entries will be judged on the basis of artistic quality and truth content.
  5. A Prize of $10 will be awarded to the first place entry in each of the two categories.
  6. No entries will be returned. Beacon Lights reserves the right to publish any or all entries.
  7. All entries must be mailed to Jim Jonker, . . . By October 5, 1961.
  8. No previously published articles will be eligible.