Winners of the theological essay competitionWinners of the theological essay competition

(Photo: CEC/Daniel Barton)

In the context of its 13th Assembly, to be held in Lyon from 15-21 July 2009, the Conference of European Churches is proud to announce the results of its Youth Theological Essay Competition.


Entrants were asked to write a 2 page (1000 word) essay on the relevance of hope in Europe today, with reference to the CEC Assembly theme, "Called to one hope in Christ". (cfr. Eph. 4.4.) The essays were required to address the question of what it means to live as people of hope in the Europe of today, and to highlight the ecumenical dimension of Christianity. They were to include theological reflection, but be aimed at a wider audience. The essays were written in English, French and German, and entries were invited from young people from across Europe and beyond.

Forty-six essays were received. These have been read by a panel of judges, according to the criteria of the competition, and the result is as follows:  

The first prize (1,000 Euros) is awarded to Claire Sixt-Gateuille, of France.
Rev. Sixt-Gateuille is a pastor in the Reformed Church of France. She is 28 years old, and lives in Tarbes. Her essay was entitled "La vocation de l'espérance" and spoke of Hope in Christ in relation to calling, unity, love, and action. Her structured exploration of the Assembly theme "Called to One Hope in Christ" was beautifully illustrated and particularly insightful.

The second prize (600 Euros) is awarded to Peter Anthony, of Great Britain.
Rev. Anthony is a priest of the Church of England. He is 29 years old, and lives in London. His essay was entitled "Hope: mystery and communion". The judges praised his essay in particular for its effective combination of current experience and biblical exegesis, and for its strong ecumenical perspective.

The third prize (400 Euros) is awarded to Joshua Searle, of Northern Ireland.
Mr Searle is a member of the Northumbria Community. He is 24 years old, and lives in Belfast. His essay was entitled "Called in One Hope: A Biblical vision of Hope for twenty-first century Europe". Written with great verve, his essay succeeded in maintaining a broad perspective while clearly focussed on Europe, and was supported by a variety of secondary sources. His use of Revelation 21 and the vision of the new Jerusalem was of particular note.

These three prize winners will be invited to the 13th CEC Assembly to receive their prize in person on July 19th.

In addition, the following entrants received special commendation from the judging panel for outstanding essays:

Stefanos Athanasiou (Greece), James Hawkey (Great Britain), Martin Kopp (France), Rebecca Lindsay & Iain Brown (Australia), Lucy Razzall (Great Britain),  Andrew Stobart (Great Britain), Georgios Vlantis (Germany).