MOULTRIE -- The Rev. Michael Helms of Moultrie recently received two significant awards, one for his writing and one for his preaching.

Helms, pastor of Moultrie's Trinity Baptist Church, received a $1,000 Amy Writing Award for a column titled "Struggling with Boundaries for your Teen-age Child," which ran in The Moultrie Observer Jan. 10, 2003.

The Amy Awards honor writers who apply biblical principles to contemporary issues. Articles considered for awards must appear in mainstream publications and include at least one Bible quotation.

Nearly 800 entries were received for the 2003 contest. Those were whittled to 15 award winners, which a panel of judges then ranked. The top award winners were:

"The Faith of a Child" by Jimmy Tomlin, High Point (N.C.) Enterprise, $10,000 first prize.

"A Simple Argument of Objective Moral Laws" by Craig Payne, The St. Croix Review, $5,000 second prize.

"God's Love Runs Deep" by Norris Burkes, Florida Today, $4,000 third prize.

"Watching Faith in Full Bloom on the Road to Baghdad" by Kendall Wingrove, The Montmorency County Tribune, Atlanta, Mich., $3,000 fourth prize.

"Explaining the War to a 6-Year-Old" by Jeff Jacoby, The Boston (Mass.) Globe, $2,000 fifth prize.

The other 10, including Helms, received $1,000 Awards of Outstanding Merit.

This is the fourth time Helms has won an Amy Award -- three of them in the last four years.

"We didn't get to climb the ladder," he said, "... but to be 15 out of 800 entries, that's not bad at all," he said.

In addition, Helms recently learned that one of his sermons placed second in the Baptist Heritage Preaching Contest, jointly sponsored by the H. Franklin Paschall Chair of Biblical Studies and Preaching at Belmont University and the Baptist History and Heritage Society.

The sermon Helms preached for Trinity's 50th anniversary, titled "Thoroughly Baptist since 1953," earned him the contest's $300 prize.

The sermon was judged based on biblical accuracy, attention to traditional historical or heritage issues, its originality, its timeliness, its quality of construction and its ability to motivate or inform about heritage issues, according to the contest's Web site.

The first place winner was Ken Sehested of Asheville, N.C., whose sermon "Faith on the Run: Why I'm Still a Baptist" earned him $400. Wallace Alcorn of Austin, Minn., who won first place last year, placed third this year and earned $200.

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