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Chalice Press Author Michael Waters Wins Prestigious 2018 Wilbur Award

ST. LOUIS, March 15, 2018

Stakes Is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America, by Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters, has been honored by the Religion Communicators Council with the prestigious 2018 Wilbur Award, honoring excellence in secular media – print and online journalism, book publishing, broadcasting, and motion pictures – for communicating religious issues, values, and themes.  

Founding pastor of Joy Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E.) in Dallas, Waters was one of two winners in the nonfiction books category for his powerful exploration of the history of racism in America and the hope still present in the struggle. Stakes Is High was released by Chalice Press in 2017 as part of a unique partnership with the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) to cultivate and lift up rising and diverse new voices for leadership in the church.

“Stakes Is High is not merely a call to reflection, but a call to action,” Waters says. “I remain humbled that people continue to answer its call to pursue racial justice nationally and globally. The news of this award proves overwhelming, especially in light of previous winners. I studied the essential works of Dr. Renita Weems, Dr. Robert D. Putman, the late Dr. Huston Smith, and others, and I continue to learn from them. That Stakes Is High has been chosen to stand beside such monumental authors and scholars is terrifying, but ultimately empowering toward future pursuits.”

Waters’ book has been called “…an incendiary series of real-life stories about injustice and prophetic responses, wrapped up with a ringing appeal for long-overdue justice.” Read the Spirit editor David Crumm adds: “The ‘sense of urgency’ is apparent on every page of this book. Waters clearly hopes to ‘awaken the masses from their slumber.’...The cover should contain a warning label: Reading this book will propel you to action.”

“As a scholar, pastor, and activist, Michael Waters’ passion and faithful work to create a more just and fair world is imperative,” said FTE President Stephen Lewis. “Stakes Is High challenges the reader to see the realities of being Black in America while considering critical next steps to support the flourishing of all people. FTE is grateful to have change-makers like Waters in our community and congratulates him on a well-earned award.”

Founded in 1954, FTE is a leadership incubator that inspires young people to make a difference in the world through Christian communities.

“Michael Waters’ tireless call for racial justice inspires readers and listeners of all kinds,” said Chalice Press president and publisher Brad Lyons. “We remain deeply honored and humbled to include him as one of our authors in our expanding line of books at the intersection of faith and social justice.”

The Religion Communicators Council (RCC), founded in 1929, is an association of communications professionals who work for and with a diverse group of faith-based organizations in the areas of communications, public relations, marketing, and development.

CBP/Chalice Press publishes resources inviting all people into deeper relationship with God, equipping them as disciples of Jesus Christ, and sending them into ministries as the Holy Spirit calls them. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Chalice Press is the publishing arm of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), with a broader ecumenical outreach to the wider church.