Writing Guide


Articles normally range from 700 to 1,200 words in length. Brevity and clarity are priorities.

Please include a sentence of author identification at the end of the article. (e.g. Jan Marco is a member of Messiah Lutheran Church, Somewhere, Alberta.)

Submission of a manuscript constitutes permission to publish. All submissions are subject to editing. If the editing results in major changes, the editor will, whenever possible, send a copy of the edited material to the author for approval prior to publication.

Submissions by e-mail are preferred, although manuscripts sent through regular mail will be accepted as well. THese manuscripts should be typed and double-spaced. Hard copy manuscripts not accepted for publication will be returned, if a self-addressed, stamped envelope with Canadian postage is included.


Canada Lutheran buys one-time printing rights only. Depending on the source and the category under which the writer falls, fees average about ten cents per published word for unsolicited manuscripts. Payment is made upon publication along with two copies of the issue in which the article appears.

An additional payment is made if photos are supplied by the writer and used with the article. All photos will be returned. Photography guidelines are available here.

Style and language

The editor looks for articles with simple style, contemporary language and fresh ideas. Writers should take care to avoid religious clichés and proof-texting the Bible.

Writers, unless otherwise agreed upon with the editor, consent to editing according to Guidelines for Inclusive Language as approved by ELCIC Church Council (CC 88-45).

Canada Lutheran uses The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, the Canadian Press Stylebook, The Canadian Style and Style Manual: Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in its editing process.

When writing for Canada Lutheran, try to picture yourself explaining something or telling a story to a small group of people from one of our congregations. To help you to measure the effectiveness of your choice of words and phrases, we have included instructions for calculating the "Fog Index" of your material.

We are hoping to reach a Fog Index of 7 to 9 in our articles. If you think nothing significant can be said at that level, consider this: David composed Psalm 23 at 4.7; Isaiah portrayed the Suffering Servant with an 8.9; and Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan at 8.4.

Fog Index

Take any group of complete sentences that contains about 100 words.

  1. Count the number of words.
  2. Count the number of sentences.
  3. Divide the number of words by the number of sentences to get an average sentence length. (Count semicolons ";" as periods.)
  4. In the same block of text count the number of words of three or more syllables. (Ignore proper names, unavoidable technical terms or words that reach three syllables only by adding -es or -ed.)
  5. Convert that number to a percentage of the total number of words.
  6. Add the average sentence length to the percentage of longer words.
  7. Multiply the sum by 0.4 to get a "Fog Index."

Applying the Fog Index Formula

  1. No. of words
  2. No. of sentences
  3. Average sentence length
  4. No. of longer words
  5. Step 4 as a percent of step 1
  6. Steps 3 and 5 added together
  7. Multiply Step 6 by 0.4