Word and Pen Christian Writers:
1985 – Present
In answer to Beth Ziarnik’s prayer to meet with other Christian writers, the Lord brought Marjorie Berg into her life in October of 1984. Together, they agreed to start a Christian writers club and established its central purpose: “To encourage and inspire Christian writers to develop their God-given writing ability and achieve publication.”
February 1985 saw eleven writers gather at the Oshkosh YMCA. By the end of the first year, Word and Pen numbered 17 members. Monthly meetings opened and closed with prayer and included a writer’s devotional, an educational speaker or tape, reports of success or progress, and writing goals for the next month–a tradition that continues to this day. Members also critiqued each other’s manuscripts during the meetings.
In September of that first year, the group adopted the name Word and Pen Christian Writers Club based on two scriptures: 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the WORD of truth” and Psalm 45:1 “My tongue is the PEN of a skillful writer.”
In 1987, Word and Pen began meeting in members’ homes and, three years later sponsored a successful one-day writers seminar, featuring speaker Margaret Houk. Even so, the next year membership fell to four. Those remaining reorganized the club with a constitution and, in January 1992, relocated to the basement of Victory Bible Assembly of God Church in Neenah. Membership grew, and the critiquing of manuscripts was moved to a monthly meeting of its own. That same year, with Word & Pen helped a sister writing group open in the Milwaukee area, calling itself the Sword and Light Christian Writers Guild.
In 1993, the need arose for a new meeting place. Members prayed and Word & Pen moved to the hospitality room at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Menasha where membership climbed to 22. Before long, two-thirds of the writers were being published, and the critique group divided into two.
February 1995, Word & Pen celebrated its tenth anniversary and that year also sponsored a second writers’ seminar that September, this time featuring speaker Marlene Bagnull.
September 2001 through December of 2002, the club sponsored an open microphone reading night once a month at Basic Books in Oshkosh.
By 2003, the club posted its first website. Meetings also transitioned to a less formal arrangement with a facilitator rather than officer leadership, and members took turns providing devotions, refreshments, and educational programs. This pattern continues.
Today members of Word and Pen Christian Writers continue to encourage and inspire one another to develop their God-given writing ability and achieve publication.