THE YOUTH MAYOR of Derby is among the finalists in Sermon of the Year, a new competition held at London’s ExCeL in May.
The competition, inaugurated by the London School of Theology (LST) and Preach Magazine, aims to unearth the preachers of tomorrow. The finals will be held on Fri 20 May, the last day of this year’s Christian Resources Exhibition International (17-20 May).
Under 21 finalist Phil Hutch is 17 years old and currently studying for A Levels. He grew up in China and Hong Kong, but moved to the UK when he was 10. Well known in the schools of Derby, he was elected Youth Mayor of Derby last year.
The other under 21 finalist is Jess Mackin, 16, from West London. Jess entered the competition ‘to test out her sermon-writing skills’ and because she was intrigued by the idea of a reason for hope – the theme of the competition.
Hutch and Mackin will record their sermons on video as they are both taking exams on the day of the competition!
Preach Magazine editor Jo Swinney said: ‘Sermons can change the world. We want the competition to help our nation’s preachers consider their craft and raise their game.’
The shortlisted entries will be published and the winners awarded resources and the opportunity to access free study at LST. They will also be mentored in their ministries.
Matt Adcock, director of communications at LST, said: ‘Preaching is a key element of life and study at LST. Sermon of the Year is a great opportunity for young preachers to share and develop their skills with a new audience and we’re excited to be championing the art of sermon preaching.’
Finalists in the 21 and over category, Natalie Collins and Siku, will preach to a panel and a live audience at ExCeL on Fri 20 May 2016.
Natalie Collins. a gender justice specialist, runs Spark, a consultancy to enable individuals and organisations prevent and respond to male violence against women. A survivor of extreme domestic abuse herself, she is director of the DAY Programme, a youth domestic abuse education programme. She is also a founding member of the Christian Feminist Network collective.
Siku is an artist, author, theologian, musician and one of Britain’s leading comic book creators/concept artists. He has been experimenting with narrative preaching (preaching while painting) and is creator of the Manga Bible.
Along with the top four, several ‘runners up’ will have their sermons printed in a book, Reason for Hope: The Top 10 Sermons from Sermon of the Year 2016, available from CPO.org.uk from May and free to those attending the finals at CRE.
At CRE International, often dubbed the ‘ideal church show’, more than 300 carefully-targeted exhibitors are expected to display everything from sound systems to stained glass, pews to puppets. Some 100 practical and resourcing seminars are scheduled along with some of the best in Christian theatre and music.
* CRE International takes place at ExCeL, London, Tue 17 – Fri 20 May 2016. For opening hours and tickets visit www.creonline.co.uk or phone 01793 418218.