Celebrating 60+ Years

Based on a history prepared by former MCWG president, Alice Bostrom, for the 40th anniversary of the MCWG

The First Year
The Minnesota Christian Writers Guild (MCWG) began in 1954. After meeting at a writers conference at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, two writers from Minnesota, Ron Keeler and Margaret Anderson, determined to establish a fellowship group for writers in their home state.

By June 7, 1954, nine people met monthly for the “Christian Writers Fellowship” in a variety of places, including the YMCA, Augsburg Publishing House, and members’ homes. The group found their first regular meeting place in the library of Minnehaha Academy.

According to MCWG archives, in December of 1954 the organization “set up three levels of classification for members.”

• Beginner: 10 sales to 3 different publications

• Active: 10 to 50 sales

• Regular: 50 or more sales.

In 1954 annual membership cost one dollar.

Each meeting began with a roll call in which members responded with the number of sales since the previous meeting.

At the first anniversary meeting on February 21, 1955, nine members and five visitors attended. Members Catharine Brandt and Margaret Anderson reported on their recent trip to a Chicago writers conference, and Margaret Anderson brought a platter of fudge for the celebration.

Original Purpose
Catharine Brandt, a charter member and long-time supporter of the Minnesota Christian Writers Guild, stated the purpose of the MCWG this way: “The object of a writers club is not to be an admiration society, but to prune and weed and feed so that those writers who know the meaning of salvation can present it winsomely and acceptably in order that an editor will buy, the subscriber will read, and the cause of Christ will be advanced.”

During its more than 60 years of training and encouraging writers, the MCWG has endeavored to remain true to that purpose, but some things have changed. Membership no longer has a publication requirement or classification. The organization welcomes all those interested in writing, whether they have authored many articles or books—or are waiting for their first acceptance. As the membership rose to one hundred and beyond, individual roll call changed to group response to questions about sales, rejections, and checks. Besides the monthly sessions, some members have organized small critique groups which meet together to read and improve their manuscripts. And for a time those interested in writing for children began meeting three times a year for special study.

Inclusion of Seminars
In 1983 Joyce Ellis inaugurated MCWG-sponsored writers seminars—once or twice a year. These seminars have featured nationally known authors, editors, and teachers, such as Dr. Dennis Hensley (nonfiction and fiction author and director of Taylor University’s professional writing program), Bodie Thoene (novelist), Ron Klug (nonfiction author and Augsburg editor), Lois Walfrid Johnson (children’s author), Philip Yancey (nonfiction author), Judith Markham (editor), Sally Stuart (creator of The Christian Writer’s Market Guide), Jim Dahlman (editor), Lin Johnson (nonfiction author and director of the Write to Publish Conference in Wheaton, Illinois), Steve Laube (agent and former bookstore owner), Roger Palms (then editor of Decision magazine), Susan May Warren (novelist), and Jeanette Windle (novelist).

Past presidents of the MCWG have included Catharine Brandt, Dr. Sherwood Wirt, Mrs. Brigadier Margaret Trout (Salvation Army), Ron Klug, Charette Barta, Terry White, Lois Holmes, Alice Bostrom, Joyce K. Ellis, Bruce Shoeman, Jane Kise, Kirk Livingston, Sue Campbell, Sharon Knudson, Mary Heitzman, and Delores Topliff. The current president is Beverly Snyder.

Over the years, attendance and membership numbers have fluctuated. And MCWG meeting locations have included Ebenezer Lutheran Brethren Church in South Minneapolis, Wooddale Church in both Richfield and Eden Prairie, Christ Presbyterian in Edina, and Bethlehem Baptist in downtown Minneapolis. The most recent chapter of the MCWG includes a move to a new meeting place, Oak Knoll Lutheran Church in Minnetonka.

The Guild meets at 7 p.m. the second Monday of each month from September through May. Through instructional programs, such as speakers and panels, Guild members engage in networking and learn how to hone their writing craft and how to develop their marketing skills.

MCWG Today
The purpose of the Minnesota Christian Writers Guild today, succinctly put, is the same as it has been for more than sixty years: to advance the cause of Jesus Christ.

Roger Palms, retired editor of Decision magazine and ardent supporter of the MCWG, wrote this: “We will never know this side of eternity how many people have been reached for Christ, [and] how many Christians have been nurtured in the faith through the writings of the members of the Minnesota Christian Writers Guild. When you multiply the impact of a single article by the number of readers, the thought of that is exciting and encouraging.”

Seminars and Contests

Past Seminars Past Contests