Unitarian Universalist Sermon Awards


Other the last couple of years I have fallen into the habit of submitting some of my sermons to award competitions. I have had pretty good luck. I have won the Dana McLean Greeley, Skinner, and Universalist Heritage awards. Unfortunately, both the UUA and the UUMA’s list of awards appear to be incomplete. So, both for my own reference and the benefit of others I thought I would put one together. Here’s what I’ve managed to gather:

Albert Schweitzer Sermon Award

Established by: UUs for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (now Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry). An annual competition for the sermon that best exemplifies Schweitzer’s principle of “reverence for life.” Deadline: April 1 Prize: Unknown [Note: UUAM does not list the contest on their web site so it unclear whether this contest is still held.] 

Dale Arnink Preaching Award
The sermon must have been delivered before a Unitarian Universalist congregation
between March 1, 2015 and January 31, 2016. The sermon should explore and promote understanding and application of Humanist teachings in Unitarian Universalism. All Unitarian Universalist professional religious leaders, as well as those studying for professional leadership, are eligible to be considered for this award. Deadline: April 16, 2016 Prize: $300

Dana McLean Greeley Annual Address
Established by: Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office. An annual competition for the outstanding sermon or address on developing a peaceful and just world. Deadline: Feb 1 Prize: $500 This year’s theme is International Criminal Justice: From Punitive to Restorative. 

UUs for Justice in the Middle East Sermon Contest Deadline: April 30 Prize: $500 [Note: Last award was given in 2013; in 2014 they didn’t select a winner; it appears to be defunct as of 2015] 

Interweave Continental
Established by: Interweave Continental. Each year, Interweave Continental recognizes the best sermon addressing LGBTQ issues that was preached to a Unitarian Universalist congregation or preached in a seminary setting during the previous year (April 1 through March 31). Deadline: April 30 Prize: $250 

Jerry Davidoff Sermon Award
Established by: The Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness (UUJA) Unitarian Universalism and Judaism both have deep traditions of justice seeking as spiritual practice. As congregations throughout our association engage in advocacy and witness around immigration reform and other pressing issues of the day, what contributions might the Jewish voice in our living tradition make to our shared efforts? What resources and lessons can the Jewish experience bring to our quest for beloved community?

The award is named in honor of the late Jerry Davidoff, an early member of this group, who was instrumental in helping lift up the the often overlooked Jewish presence in our religious movement. UUJA offers resources to those interested in Jewish issues, celebrations and heritage, either personally or on behalf of congregations. Deadline: April 1 Prize: $500 [Note: The last year that the UUJA lists a winner for this award is 2012 so it is unclear if it is still given.]

Promise the Children
Established by: Promise the Children announces a new and unique sermon-story contest. Three prizes will be awarded this year at General Assembly. One for a sermon given by an adult; the second for a sermon or portion of a sermon given by a youth or young adult under age 21; and the third for a children’s story or children’s sermon given during a Sunday service or children’s worship. Deadline: May 20 Prize: Unknown [Note the organization’s web site has no information about the award]

Social Witness Sermon Award
Established by: Commission on Social Witness and the UUMA. The current Congregational Study/Action Issues are “Reproductive Justice: Expanding Our Social Justice Calling” and “Escalating Inequality.” Either topic is eligible. Deadline: March 1 Prize: $500 

Stewardship Sermon Award
Established by: UUA Annual Program Fund, the UUMA & LREDA. An annual competition for the sermon judged most effective in exploring and promoting financial support of our Unitarian Universalist faith. Deadline: Feb 15 Prize: $500 

The Skinner Sermon Award
An annual competition for the sermon best expressing Unitarian Universalism’s social principles. Deadline: March 1 Prize: $500 

Universalist Heritage Sermon Award
Established by: Universalist Heritage Society. To encourage deeper study of Universalist history and spirituality and the sharing of the Good News of this faith with ever wider audiences, we joyfully announce this award program. Deadline: April 1 Prize: $500 

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