THE final of Theology Slam 2020 — a competition to find engaging young voices who think theologically about the contemporary world — will feature talks on race, disability, and the #MeToo movement.
Three finalists have been chosen to take part in the second Theology Slam final, which takes place on 26 March, at St John’s, Hoxton, in London. (Buy tickets here.) Each will deliver a talk of between seven and ten minutes, and the winner, chosen by a panel of judges, will be announced on the night.
Theology Slam is organised jointly by the Church Times, SCM Press, the Community of St Anselm, and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.
The competition was open to anyone, lay or ordained, between the ages of 18 to 30. Applicants were asked to write 500 words on one of 12 contemporary issues. The finalists have chosen to speak on: theology and disability, theology and race, and theology and the #MeToo movement.
As well as the written work, applicants were asked to submit a 90-second video, introducing themselves and explaining why they were interested in the chosen topic.
The finalists are:
- Sam Hodson, 23, who works in a community with people who have learning disabilities. Speaking on theology and disability, he will reflect on what the people he encounters in his work have taught him about God.
- Molly Boot, 22, who is a Master’s student in medieval church history at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. She will be speaking on theology and #MeToo, considering how sexual harassment has changed her understanding of the Christian mystics.
- Augustine Tanner-Ihm, 29, who is a Master’s student in theology and an ordinand at Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, he will talk on theology and race, reflecting on the biblical theme of belonging.
Each finalist will be given a free half-day training session on public speaking before the final.
The judging panel on the night consists of experts and leading theologians: the Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley; a Tutor and Lecturer in Political Theology at St Mellitus College, London, Selina Stone; the Executive Director of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, Mark Greene; and the winner of the first Theology Slam in 2019, Hannah Malcolm.
The winner on 26 March will receive £250 to spend at Church House Bookshop, and the Theology Slam trophy. His or her talk will be published in the Church Times. All three talks will be filmed and made available on YouTube and social media.
Archbishop Welby, said in support of the Theology Slam: “Theology is exciting. It is about God’s word, God’s world and God’s people. It is vitally important for the Church to nurture young Christians into thinking, speaking, and writing about God and the world, and it is even more important that the Church listen to their voices.
“#TheologySlam encourages us to do just that: listen to God, listen to the world, and listen to the voices emerging within the Church, so we can join into God’s work in the world today.”