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A prize for theological writing

10 April 2015


NOMINATIONS are now open for the 2016 Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing.

The Church Times invites its readers to submit their choices for this award. The winner will receive £10,000. Shortlisted authors will each receive £1000. Readers have until 12 June to submit their favourite new titles.

Both the shortlist for the award and the identity of the judges will be made public at the Bloxham Festival of Faith and Literature, in February 2016. The winner will be announced at the Greenbelt Festival in August 2016.

The competition was launched in 2005 by Lord Williams, then Archbishop of Canterbury, and is held every two to three years. The award commemorates Lord Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1961 to 1974, who worked to increase theological understanding among both the Christian and non-Christian population. The prize is administered by the publisher SPCK, and is sponsored by the Lambeth Trust.

The purpose of the Michael Ramsey Prize is to celebrate and encourage both the writing and reading of theology, with a special focus on emerging theological authors. The hope is that publicity surrounding the award, and especially the shortlist, will prompt people to include theological works among their reading.

The winner of the 2013 prize was Luke Bretherton, for Christianity and Contemporary Politics. The shortlisted authors were Victor Lee Austin, John Gillibrand, Thomas Yoder Neufeld, Paula Gooder, and Michael Lodahl. Earlier winners include Tom Wright for The Resurrection of the Spirit in 2005, Timothy Radcliffe for What is the point of being Christian? in 2007, and Richard Bauckham for Jesus and the Eyewitnesses in 2009.

Next year's award will be pres-ided over by the present Archbishop of Canterbury, who will appoint the panel of judges and award the prize.

The competition has a global reach, and accepts nominations of works by non-British authors, on the one condition that they have been translated into English. The organisers hope that this will help to bring new and previously unknown authors to the forefront of contem-porary theological debate.

The Church Times is the Michael Ramsey Prize media partner.


Who is in your good books?

Justin Welby invites your nominations for the 2016 Michael Ramsey Prize

IT GIVES me great pleasure this month to open nominations for the 2016 Michael Ramsey Prize.

This will be my first occasion to preside over a process that, thanks to my immediate predecessor, Archbishop Rowan, has now become well-established as a prize for recognising the best theological writing in the service of the Church.

As I do so, I am deeply conscious that I am walking in the footsteps of a much esteemed predecessor, Archbishop Michael Ramsey. On his memorial tablet in Canterbury Cathedral are inscribed the words of Irenaeus: "The glory of God is the living man and the life of man is the vision of God."

It is clear to me that the glory of God was tangible in the person of Michael Ramsey, and that, through his work, a vision of God was conceived profoundly and communicated effectively.

For myself, I was first inspired by him through Chadwick's biography while at theological college, and I have continued to be inspired by his writings ever since.

Best known among his works is probably his The Christian Priest Today, written in 1972 and still in print; but there are so many others to commend, not least his lectures on an Anglican method in theology, in The Anglican Spirit.

The Michael Ramsey Prize aims to celebrate the most promising contemporary theological writing and to help more people to enjoy it. I am looking forward to seeing the books that will be nominated this year, and to exploring how they can help the Church in thinking more deeply, acting more wisely, and witnessing more effectively to the glory of God.

Along with a team to help with short-listing, as well as a panel of judges who will make the final call, I am particularly eager to see books that will help the Church to grow in the areas of my three ministry priorities: of prayer and religious life; of reconciliation; and of evangelism and witness. We are especially keen for nominations from new authors, as well as books written or published in the global South.

If you have read a book which meets these criteria, published between 2012 and 2014, and you could recommend enthusiastically, I warmly encourage you to make a nomination, either online or using the form below.


How to nominate an author

IF YOU have read a book published between 2012 and 2014 which has furthered your understanding of theology, prayer, or the Christian life, you can show your thanks to the author by nominating him or her. Please take a minute or two to submit your nomination online - www.michaelramseyprize.org.uk/nominate - or on the form, right, and post it to the Michael Ramsey Prize Coordinator, SPCK, 36 Causton Street, London SW1P 4ST.  You are welcome to nominate more than one work. There will be a prize draw among all who nominate a title. The winner will receive a complete set of the shortlisted works. (Your contact details will be used only for this draw, and won't be passed to any third party.) Any enquiries about the competition should be sent to prize@michaelramseyprize.org.uk. Further details can be found on the website.

Closing date for nominations: 12 June 2015

Nominations should meet the following criteria:
• The book must have a living author;
• It must have been published between January 2012 and December 2014; and
• It must have been written in, or translated into, English.

Works by more than three authors will not be considered.

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