Frances Leap, Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies at Seton Hill University, received a first place award of excellence in the devotional/inspirational short format category from the Associated Church Press for the Best of Christian Press awards competition. This award was announced at the Associated Church Press Annual Convention May 6-8 in Indianapolis, Ind.

Leap, of Greensburg, Pa., submitted an essay titled “Away from the Manager,” was originally published in U.S. Catholic in December 2008.

Associated Church Press judge Linda Lawson noted of Leap’s essay, “I couldn’t stop reading this article! It is a well-told story with personal reflections that comfort.”

According to the Associated Church Press, the Best of Christian Press awards competition is held annually for its publication members, including newspapers, newsletters, magazines, journals, news services, e-zines and websites. Winners in the categories of journalistic and creative writing, theology, design, marketing, and overall Best in Class are announced at the spring conference. The yearly competition, drawing more than 1,000 entries in approximately 70 categories, provides an opportunity to recognize professional excellence among Associated Church Press members.