Christian Retailing

Hobby Lobby awaits Supreme Court contraception decision Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:29 AM America/New_York

James Dobson’s Family Talk organization wins similar healthcare case in U.S. District Court

HobbyLobbyPrayerThe Hobby Lobby arts-and-crafts giant and sister company Mardel Christian & Education await a Supreme Court decision in the historic Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores case. The court is expected to rule on the case before the end of its term in June after hearing oral arguments March 25 in the case that addresses the rights of business owners to operate their family-owned companies without violating their religious convictions.

The court combined the hearing of two similar cases brought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, who both challenged the Health & Human Services (HHS) Mandate that would force them to pay for abortion pills or face substantial daily fines.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement argued on behalf of the companies, stating that they are protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The principal lawyers in the case, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli for the Obama administration and Clement for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga argued against each other in another Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) case in 2012. In that case, the justices upheld by a 5-4 vote the constitutionality of the aspect of the law that requires people to purchase health insurance.

“The choice that the government has forced on us is unfair and not in keeping with the history of our great nation founded on religious freedom,” Hobby Lobby’s Barbara Green said in a video taken with her husband, David Green. “We believe that Americans don’t lose their religious freedom when they open a family business. We were encouraged by today’s arguments. We are thankful that the Supreme Court has heard our case, and we prayerfully await the justices’ decision.”

The Greens do not object to providing 16 of the 20 contraceptives under the HHS mandate and will continue to provide contraceptives at no additional cost to their employees.

In the meantime, a lower court favored Dr. James Dobson and his Family Talk organization in a related healthcare case. 

Family Talk won a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the Obamacare employer mandate. Fighting the same contraception-coverage requirements that Hobby Lobby is protesting, Dobson won the injunction before the U.S. District Court of Colorado, where Family Talk is headquartered.

“In America, we don’t try to separate what people do from what they believe,” Kevin Theriot, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said of the case. “Faith-based organizations should be free to operate according to the faith they teach and live out every day. If the government can fine Christian ministries out of existence because they want to uphold their faith, there is no limit to what other freedoms it can take away. The court was right to block enforcement of this unconstitutional mandate against Family Talk.”

Judge Robert E. Blackburn stated in his decision that “there is a substantial likelihood that the plaintiffs can show the ACA [Affordable Care Act] and the regulations constitute a substantial burden on the exercise of their religion.”

Blackburn also cited Hobby Lobby’s lower court victories as precedent for Dobson’s legal standing in bringing the case, stating that it is “directly analogous to Hobby Lobby [v. Sebelius].”

Todd Starnes to host Christian Retailing’s Best Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:17 AM America/New_York

FOX News’ commentator expected to draw interest at Christian retail show event

ToddStarnesWinners of the 2014 Christian Retailing’s Best awards will be announced Tuesday, June 24, at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in Atlanta. Todd Starnes, author of God Less America (Charisma House, May) and host of the “FOX News & Commentary” daily radio show, will present the 2014 awards, Tuesday, 9-10 a.m., at the show floor’s Creative Pavilion stage at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Christian Retailing magazine, sponsor of the awards, invites all ICRS attendees to attend the free-of-charge awards presentation and see the outcome of their votes.

Along with his own radio program, Starnes is a regular contributor to TV’s FOX & Friends and Hannity. His column is read by nearly 4 million people, and his syndicated column appears at and He is also the recipient of an Edward R. Murrow Award and an Associated Press Mark Twain Award for storytelling. This year, he was honored to win the National Religious Broadcasters’ Board of Directors award.

B&H Publishing Group led the field in number of finalists with 15. Baker Publishing Group had 14, while Abingdon Press had 12 finalists. Some of the key finalists named were: Happy, Happy, Happy, Phil Robertson (Howard Books) in Auto/Biography; I Am a Church Member, Thom Rainer (B&H Books) in Church and Culture; The Guardian, Beverly Lewis (Baker Publishing Group) in Fiction: Amish; and The Daniel Plan, Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Mark Hyman (Brilliance Publishing) in Audio. See the complete list of 2014 Christian Retailing’s Best finalists online at

Those who are part of the Christian products industry were qualified to vote in the awards, and were asked to judge the nominations on their impact, including their ability to speak to people’s hearts and evoke emotion; open people’s minds to new ways of thinking; and encourage and affirm Christ-like living.

Introduced in 2001, the awards sponsored by Christian Retailing have been acknowledged as an important way of recognizing some of the most significant new life-changing products in the Christian retail industry.

Baker holds special event to celebrate 75 years of publishing, retailing Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:16 AM America/New_York

Recently renovated store hosted anniversary occasion serving as ‘mile marker toward our vision of a world living in Christ’

RichBaker-VIPBaker Publishing Group celebrated 75 years in business with an invitation-only event April 24 at its prime Baker Book House retail location, which underwent a $1.6 million renovation starting in 2012.

Managed by Sue Smith, the historic store in Grand Rapids, Mich., was the site of the Easter-week reception that drew guests including “representatives from our companion publishers Zondervan and Kregel along with many other business associates, ministers, agents, authors, media, current and retired employees, friends, family, shirt-tail relatives and bewildered bookstore customers,” Dwight Baker, president of Baker Publishing Group, told Christian Retailing. “We celebrate this occasion as a mile marker toward our vision of a world living in Christ, where the message of God’s love is provided to all who seek it.”

A harpist offered background music, while guests visited and dined on appetizers and desserts during the two-hour afternoon event.

Smith, who recently became chairperson of CBA, was “very pleased” with the turnout.

“We had a grand time overall,” she said. “I feel that it’s important to celebrate in this way because these landmarks are important. It’s a vital time to stop and be thankful for where we’ve been, both for Herman’s vision and God’s provision all these years.” 

Baker also spoke to the gathering, commending Karen Steele, manager of conventions, corporate events and corporate publicity at Baker Publishing Group, for planning the reception well in advance.

Christian Retailing presented a special VIP (Visionary Industry Pioneer) award to Richard Baker, who worked at the company full-time for 40 years and served as president from 1987 to 1997 after founder Herman Baker. Presented on behalf of Charisma Media, the award commended him for “building one of America’s greatest publishing companies and blessing the lives of millions.”

After the award presentation, the company’s third-generation president invited guests to pick up a copy of The Baker Book House Story, a book written by Ann Byle, who also was present at the event.

Indicating that writing one’s own company history is “a somewhat self-conscious process,” he joked about telling the story that would be read by authors.

“We were very concerned that it’s hard to make a good story when you have a narrative thread that involves no drama, no romance, no violence, no conflict, and you all know the ending,” he said, citing the difficulty of “keeping you engaged as a reader with a narrative that really doesn’t hold up to other literary expectations—and our solution to that was to make it very thin.” 

The company has annual revenues that run about $50 million with sales up 6% for the fiscal year ending in April. Baker is the third-largest publishing house of Christian titles behind HarperCollins Christian Publishing and Tyndale House Publishers, and is owned by Richard Baker and his four children, Dawn Baker Faasse, Dwight Baker, Dave Baker and Dan Baker.

In the process of acquiring Regal Books’ authors from Gospel Light, Baker’s divisions include Bethany House, Baker Books, Revell, Chosen, Brazos Press and Baker Academic. The company has exclusive rights to God’s Word Translation Bibles and will distribute Cambridge Bibles through 2014.

Baker Publishing Group to acquire Regal Books Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:14 AM America/New_York

Gospel Light to concentrate on core mission of resourcing churches with curriculum rather than trade titles

Regal-Color-logoGospel Light has signed a letter of intent to sell the publishing assets of Regal Books to Baker Publishing Group. Stan Jantz, interim CEO of Gospel Light, and Dwight Baker, president of Baker Publishing Group, say the goal is to have the transaction closed by June 30.

“Over the last several months, the board and leadership of Gospel Light made a strategic decision to concentrate on Gospel Light’s core mission,” Jantz said. “From the time Henrietta Mears founded Gospel Light in 1933, resourcing churches with curriculum and Vacation Bible School materials so they can reach children and families with the gospel has been at the core. In order to concentrate on that mission, the board decided to find a compatible new home for Regal’s authors.”

Baker is aware of that compatibility. 

“Baker Publishing Group has a long-standing fellowship with the Gospel Light/Regal Books community,” he said. “Our two respective publishing programs complement each other well. I have observed with admiration as Regal introduced such authors as George Barna, John Perkins, Norm Wright and Dutch Sheets to a wide readership. This is the legacy of Regal and a standard that we are compelled to maintain.”

“They went from a three-generation independent to a three-generation independent,” said Baker of the transaction.

Baker told Christian Retailing that his company “can’t add any expertise to Gospel Light,” but can support Regal’s 280 active authors, 59 of which have been published by Baker and Regal, including J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul and Os Guinness.

Baker’s reason for acquiring Regal Books’ authors was to provide “readership for the long term,” he said. “The setting there was more difficult for them to insure that long-term support and availability, so part of it was structural. They decide to capitalize on their trade books and invest fully in the continuity of their curriculum publishing.”

It was decided in consultation with Jantz that Baker would not do a Regal division in part because of the similarity of the name Regal to Baker imprint Revell, which was thought to be “an invitation to confusion,” Baker said, but also because Regal authors fit into what Baker is already doing with its four trade divisions, Baker Books, Chosen, Bethany House and Revell. Baker Publishing Group was allocating Regal authors to their respective divisions at press time.

With its “Spirit-filled” emphasis, Chosen has the “largest overlap of any by far,” Baker said.

Gospel Light “viewed author care as the top priority in the sale of Regal,” Jantz said. “One of the primary reasons the board selected Baker was its compatibility in this area, plus the Baker family and their teams are just good people. We feel a kinship with their mission and the way they do business—for the glory of God and the benefit of their authors.”

Because Gospel Light retained the Regal Books trademark, they have the option to rebuild Regal should they so choose.

Founded by Bill Greig Jr. in 1965, Regal published How to Be a Christian Without Being Religious by Fritz Ridenour as its first book, which is still in print. 

Christian publishers’ group marks 40 years Print Email
Written by Ken Walker   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:12 AM America/New_York

Association helps ‘set the bar high’ for Christian publishing industry in working for ‘the greater good’

ChristianPublishersWhile marching into a future likely to offer increasing industry challenges, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) paused to celebrate its 40th anniversary during the group’s April Leadership Summit in Colorado Springs, Colo.

People like David C Cook’s CEO Cris Doornbos, chairman of ECPA’s board, hailed the association as a vital resource for the industry.

“I became a part of Christian publishing in 1983 and fully invested myself in it ever since,” said Doornbos, which hosted a 40-year “Retro Party” during the conference. “ECPA played a significant role in my personal and professional leadership goals, as I had the opportunity to build relationships with leaders throughout its membership.”

ECPA President and CEO Mark Kuyper sees the association becoming even more important in the future.

ECPA’s fourth leader said the association’s networking, data gathering and educational initiatives have already helped members traverse the digital revolution. Keeping members up to date on developments will be crucial as e-books morph into new forms, Kuyper said.

“The traditional e-book isn’t the future,” he said. “We talk about publishers making a message known. You can do that in a couple sentences and make it known around the world in a few seconds.

“I think we’re going to see a lot of creative electronic solutions to getting the message to the right people at the right place. It’s not simply going to be taking what was in print and making it available on an electronic reader.”

During the anniversary banquet that opened the Leadership Summit, presenters announced the 2014 Christian Book Awards in seven categories as well as the Christian Book of the Year award. ECPA also celebrated where it has come since originating as a one-man shop under Executive Director Donald Brandenburg.

C.E. Andrew, known as Ted, replaced Brandenburg in 1981, with Doug Ross succeeding Andrew as president in 1987. Kuyper, formerly in marketing with CBA, arrived in 2004 and assumed the mantle of CEO.

Among the 17 publishing houses and 23 individual charter members was Thomas Nelson Publishers, now under the HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) umbrella. 

HCCP’s senior vice president and group publisher, David Moberg, lauded ECPA for promoting professionalism and raising members’ effectiveness by equipping them to meet the marketplace’s ever-changing needs.

“Four decades later, as we continue to go through significant transitions, that vision is even more relevant and needed,” Moberg said. “We are grateful to be part of an organization that helps us set the bar high.”

Dave Schroeder, director of communications for B&H Publishing Group’s trade book marketing, said the Nashville house finds value in ECPA’s online and in-person training and conferences, and especially appreciates the best-seller lists.

“The best-seller list has been integral to understanding the trends of what type of content is connecting with readers who go into Christian bookstores,” he said. “It also provides a good look at how we can better serve our retail partners to serve their customers.”

Marilyn Largent, vice president for sales at David C Cook, said the best-seller lists offer additional value charting across all sales channels.

“This has become a great asset for book sales in the industry,” Largent said. “When we have a title on the ECPA list, it makes a difference in purchasing decisions for the general market and ABA accounts.”

ECPA’s best-seller lists and seminars are just two of many developments dotting its timeline. The group sponsored its first management seminar in Colorado Springs in 1975 and a year later attracted its first “name” speaker: former White House aide Charles Colson.

In 1978, the association launched its Gold Medallion Book Awards, naming five award winners. The number of categories would triple in 1987 before shrinking after taking on a new name, Christian Book Award, in 1996.

ECPA presented its first Lifetime Achievement Award to Pat Zondervan, founder and chairman of Zondervan, in 1982 and two years later launched its inaugural major research project on book sales.

In 1984, the association sent its first collective of publishers to exhibit at the Frankfurt Book Fair and the following year dispatched representatives to the Moscow International Book Fair.

The organization’s other achievements include the following:

  • Completing The Moscow Project in 1994, which saw 4 million New Testaments distributed across Russia.
  • Sponsoring its first Spanish Expolit with the Spanish Evangelical Publishers Association in 1993
  • Hitting a record year for Gold and Platinum sales awards in 2003, when 60 titles reached milestones of 500,000 or 1 million copies.
  • Sponsoring its first PubU (Publishing University) in 2004.
  • Producing a new multi-channel best-seller list in 2010.

There were setbacks too. Most recently the Christian Book Expo in Dallas in 2009 saw a tepid consumer response at the peak of the economic downturn. Low attendance numbers forced its cancellation for the following year.

On the plus side, Kuyper said the awards program ECPA runs does the same for the Christian industry that the Academy Awards and the GRAMMYs do for movies and music.

“I think this has been one of the most significant tools we’ve had,” he said. “Back in the day, we had very little media coverage and very little retail support, but we’ve continued to (attract) support.”

Another accomplishment that generates few headlines outside the industry has been ECPA’s anti-piracy advocacy, which included successfully engaging ina drawn-out battle to remove copyrighted content from a London-based website.

More recently, the association worked with Nigerian authorities to crack down on sales of pirated material.

Kuyper is pleased that a sizable group gathered to observe ECPA’s 40th anniversary since it draws a sharp contrast with conditions in 1974. He recalled Brandenburg’s challenge in developing cooperation at a time when little existed among the publishers.

The data gathering that followed shows how publishers became more willing to work together.

“They were willing to take the risk of having some of their data available for the greater good and analyzing the data from a market perspective,” Kuyper said. “You’ve got to be working together and you’ve got to develop a sense of trust for these kinds of tools to be available.”

Barbour partners with Back to the Bible to serve churches with new goTandem nonfiction imprint Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 08:52 AM America/New_York

Popular Scripture-based app inspires line of ‘life-changing resources’

GoTandemLogoLargeBarbour Publishing announced an exclusive partnership with Back to the Bible on Feb. 6. Under the new agreement, negotiated by Greg Johnson of WordServe Literary Group, Barbour will work with Back to the Bible to launch the goTandem book imprint to provide quality nonfiction resources especially for churches.

These resources will complement the successful goTandem mobile app, which provides daily biblical encouragement, catered to individual needs. 

“We’re thrilled to be aligned with one of the most trusted ministries serving the church today,” said Barbour CEO Timothy Martins. “This unique opportunity to develop practical and life-changing resources with such a passionate and talented team is a privilege.”

The first book release is scheduled for November, with another 12 titles to follow in 2015. The goTandem imprint aims to provide churches with a solid and relevant selection of books that address the unique needs of congregations large and small.

The mission statement of Back to the Bible is to meet people where they are and help them connect with God through daily Bible engagement. It is this strategy that drives the launch of the new imprint, according to Arnie Cole, CEO of Back to the Bible.

“There are few publishers who can combine value with meeting high felt needs of readers, few who can distribute to a broad array of outlets with a sharp eye toward editorial and packaging,” Cole said. “Barbour’s history of creating Bible-oriented books makes them the perfect partner to work with churches to meet the ever-changing needs of local congregations.”

Titles from the new imprint will be distributed by Barbour to churches and bookstores.

Adam Hamilton takes five spots on CBA Top 50 Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 08:46 AM America/New_York

Abingdon Press ‘honored by the support of our retail partners’

AdamHamiltonLargeAbingdon Press author and pastor Adam Hamilton claimed five spots on the March CBA Top 50 best-sellers list. 

Hamilton’s award-winning The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus took the No. 10 spot, with Final Words From the Cross (No. 34); 24 Hours That Changed the World (No. 35); The Way: 40 Days of Reflection (No. 36); and Love to Stay: Sex, Grace and Commitment (No. 45) also making the list. 

“Our publishing house has always believed in and championed the writing and ministry of Adam Hamilton, and have enjoyed a long-standing history with him,” said Tamara Crabtree, executive director of marketing and sales at Abingdon Press. “We are honored by the support of our retail partners for Adam’s books and resources. Likewise, we are pleased to know that through our partnership with authors such as Adam, we are meeting the needs of customers for life-changing and application books and studies.”

The March CBA list reflects sales through Feb. 1 in Christian stores as reported through CROSS:SCAN.

Harrison House pioneering author Charles Capps dies Print Email
Written by Jennifer LeClaire   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 08:44 AM America/New_York

Word of Faith preacher’s books launched the charismatic publishing company and have sold millions

CharlesCappsAuthor and Word of Faith preacher Charles Capps died Feb. 23. He was 80.

Capps’ best-selling books, including The Tongue: A Creative Force and God’s Creative Power Will Work for You (both Harrison House), have sold millions of copies and are still in demand. The latter gave birth to the “God’s Creative Power” series, which alone has sold more than 5 million copies.

Capps was a retired farmer, land developer and Bible teacher who traveled extensively throughout the United States and several foreign countries sharing the truths of God’s Word. He taught Bible seminars for more than 35 years, emphasizing the authority of the believer, faith and the power of words.

Capps and his wife, Peggy, had roots in the rich farmland of Lonoke County, Ark. Having been raised by parents who were farmers, Capps began farming cotton, soybeans and rice immediately after graduating from high school and marrying in 1951.

Three-and-a-half months older than Capps, Peggy had to sign as the adult on his behalf when he wanted to take flying lessons at the age of 17. They joined an organization known as the Flying Farmers and gained experience going to “fly-ins” and national meetings across the United States.

Neither knew that this skill of flying would be such an asset later, when Capps began teaching personal evangelism in the 1960s. He spoke on the subject of soul-winning in churches not only in the U.S., but also flew his twin engine Piper Comanche to the Bahamas to teach students of Youth With a Mission how to share Christ with others.

After reading a book by Kenneth E. Hagin entitled Authority of the Believer, Capps’ life took on a new dimension of travel and ministry as he became known for his teaching gift and insight on the subjects of faith and confession.

Invitations to minister to the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International began to pour in, eventually leading to the publication of Capps’ teachings in book form. The Tongue: A Creative Force and God’s Creative Power Will Work for You became best-sellers after Buddy Harrison, Hagin’s son-in-law, launched his publishing company—Harrison House—with the two titles.

Capps’ Concepts of Faith daily national radio broadcast and a weekly television broadcast aired on several networks, satellite and the Internet.

Capps is survived by his wife, Peggy, and daughters, Annette and Beverly.

Harvest House announces corporate restructuring plan Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 08:43 AM America/New_York

Changes come as family-owned company enters 40th year of publishing

HarvestHouseNewLogoHarvest House Publishers has announced a strategic corporate restructuring plan designed to generate new sales opportunities and inject more innovation and efficiency into the company. In response to an ever-changing publishing climate, Harvest House is seeking to better employ the strengths of key personnel.

“God has gifted our company with incredibly talented people, and there were opportunities to implement their strengths in exciting new ways that will benefit the company and our authors as we continue to exercise a forward-thinking outlook in everything we do,” said Harvest House President Bob Hawkins Jr. “With this restructuring, I am confident Harvest House will realize new sales growth, an even more invigorating corporate culture and the achievement of the company’s short- and long-range goals and initiatives.”

The first of the corporate changes was the promotion of Vice President of Editorial LaRae Weikert to executive vice president/editorial. In her expanded executive role, Weikert, a 28-year veteran of Harvest House, will handle more corporate-level responsibilities as she applies her leadership abilities and market insights to the company’s publishing program.

In addition, Barb Sherrill, vice president of marketing, was promoted to vice president of product development. In this newly created position in the Editorial department, Sherrill will utilize her more than 25 years of industry experience to lead a team of editors in the acquisition and development of gift, youth and children’s books, and will oversee the growth of the company’s fiction line and the establishment of e-products.

In a key change to its infrastructure, Harvest House also combined the Interactive Media and Design department (IMD) with Marketing, creating the newly formed Marketing Services department. Bryce Williamson, manager of IMD, will now serve as director of marketing services. Williamson brings significant graphic design and marketing experience to this position, as well as an innovative mind-set from his eight years as graphic design manager.

Serving alongside Williamson is Aaron Dillon, former publicist, in his new capacity as marketing services manager. Dillon will assist Williamson in the development of marketing strategies and ensure their efficient implementation.

Other changes at the company include the promotion of Heather Green to manager/corporate development and strategy, and Jeff Marion to the position of covers project manager.

Harvest House is entering its 40th year as an independent, family-run Christian publishing house.

Worthy Publishing celebrates record year Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 08:42 AM America/New_York

‘Jeremiah Study Bible,’ John Hagee lead with strong sales

WorthyPublishingWorthy Publishing Group (WPG) grew 84% in 2013 versus its already strong start of 64% growth from 2011 to 2012. In the company’s first full year of business, its list of trade books, along with new releases from imprints Ellie Claire, WorthyKids and Inspired, helped WPG establish an aggressive growth profile for the young publishing house.

WPG released The Jeremiah Study Bible right before Thanksgiving, shipping more than 140,000 copies at launch. The release was celebrated by a sell-out crowd at an event at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, featuring David Jeremiah, MercyMe, Kari Jobe and The Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers. This month, Dr. Jeremiah and the Worthy team celebrated a milestone achievement as The Jeremiah Study Bible hit No. 1 on the CBA best-seller chart.

“The enthusiastic support from LifeWay, Family Christian, Barnes & Noble, CBD [Christian Book Distributors], Walmart and so many others is deeply appreciated,” said Worthy President and Publisher Byron Williamson in a Feb. 3 statement. “At the current rate of sale, Dr. Jeremiah’s study Bible will soon surpass 300,000 in print.”

John Hagee’s Four Blood Moons, which had more than 375,000 copies in print by early February, became a New York Times best-seller shortly after its October release.

“Pastor Hagee’s book has captured readers’ imaginations with its message that ‘something is about to change’ on this earth,” Williamson said.

The coming series of four lunar eclipses predicted by NASA are signs from the heavens of things to come, according to Hagee.

Worthy titles slated for release in 2014 include books from authors including Jeremiah, Ted Dekker, Ralph Reed, Bob Coy, Les and Leslie Parrott, Bob Buford, Rudy Rasmus and Stephen Mansfield.

WorthyKids, a new division of WPG, recently signed an expanded publishing deal with DreamWorks Animation for additional rights to VeggieTales. New titles will be releasing throughout the year.

‘The Bible,’ ‘Grace Unplugged’ win Movieguide’s Epiphany Prizes Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 08:39 AM America/New_York

Robertson family of ‘Duck Dynasty’ fame takes home pair of awards from 22nd Annual Faith & Values Gala

MovieguideAwards2014The Bible miniseries, Grace Unplugged and Duck Dynasty’s Robertson clan each won multiple awards at Movieguide’s 22nd Annual Faith & Values Gala. Held Feb. 7 at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Universal City, Calif., the awards show also featured a special performance by author and singer Joni Earackson Tada.

“What we’re celebrating tonight is you,” said Movieguide founder Ted Baehr to the audience in the award ceremony’s opening address.

People want great movies, and “great movies are great stories well told, with a positive worldview, and that are spiritually uplifting,” Baehr added.

The night’s biggest winners were Grace Unplugged and The Bible, which won the $100,000 Epiphany Prizes for Most Inspiring Movie of 2013 and Most Inspiring TV Program of 2013, respectively.

“What an exciting and humbling honor,” said Brad J. Silverman, writer and director of Grace Unplugged (Lionsgate Entertainment/Capitol Christian Distribution). “Our goal from the beginning was to make a movie that would entertain and inspire families—and to have Movieguide recognize us for doing just that is more special than I can put into words.”

In addition to the Epiphany Prize, Grace Unplugged took home two other awards: Best Film Actress for AJ Michalka and Best Film Actor for James Denton.

“This has been quite a journey for us, for my husband and I, as a married couple, said The Bible co-producer Downey, who along with Burnett, recently released the Jesus-focused full-length film Son of God in theaters. “We were very encouraged all last year.”

Downey also took home the award for Best Television Actress for her part as Jesus’ mother, Mary, in The Bible, a role she reprises in Son of God. Diogo Morgado, who plays Jesus in the miniseries, was runner-up for Best Television Actor. Morgado also reprises his role in Son of God.

Tada’s performance of the title song from Enthuse Entertainment’s Colonial-era drama, Alone Yet Not Alone, received an Oscar nomination in late January, only to have it rescinded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences a week later. The rare nomination withdrawal was prompted by an alleged ethical breach by the song’s composer, Bruce Broughton, whose email to voters drawing attention to the song was viewed as inappropriate due to his position on the Academy’s executive committee. 

The singer pointed to the silver lining in the disappointing turn of events, indicating that the nomination and its withdrawal had helped bring into the public eye the movie and her cause—people with disabilities such as herself.

“God’s power always shows up best in weakness,” Tada told the Movieguide Awards audience.

Duck Dynasty’s “Till Duck Do Us Part” episode won the Faith & Freedom Award for television. Willie Robertson also won an award for his guest-starring role in the “Back to School” episode of ABC comedy Last Man Standing.