Faith in the World essay competition winners announced
Thursday 7th July 2011The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, presented prizes on Tuesday 28th June to the winners of his "Faith in the World" writing competition for young people.
The competition was launched by the Archbishop in January this year, and invited young people to submit an essay exploring faith in our world.
Over 1000 entries were submitted, and the winners were invited to receive their prizes at a reception at Lambeth Palace.
Joining the Archbishop on the panel of judges were Conservative Party co-Chair Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Benedict Brogan, deputy editor of The Daily Telegraph, the Revd Lucy Winkett, rector of St James's Church in Piccadilly, London, and theologian and writer Jane Williams.
The judges were looking for strong evidence of engagement and a clear grasp of the issues involved, along with good communication of the central ideas in the essay. Particularly in the older age groups, they were looking for originality of thought and an analysis of the broader context in which these issues are addressed.
Extracts from the winning entries appear below, and also on the Daily Telegraph website. Click the downloads on the right to read the full essays [60kb]
'Faith in the World' Prize 2011 - winning entries:
Junior Category (ages 13-15)
Winner: Lucy Lim, 15, from Westcliff High School, Westcliff on Sea
Subject: What Are School Assemblies For?
"I have found the most enjoyable of assemblies are those that reflect on personal experiences. Learning the secrets of a supposedly 2D teacher is especially engaging, motivating students and, in turn, making appreciation of the lessons easier. Whilst we shuffle out of the routine assembly in utter apathy, such performances as these receive deafening applause.
"I believe school assembles are not for teaching – what, then are lessons for? – but for educating. Educating on levels that lessons don't reach, training pupils to appreciate areas outside the curriculum and injecting inspiration."
Highly Commended: Richard Picardo, 15, from Bury Grammar School
Subject: Do You Need To be Religious To Be Good?
"We, as an intelligent race, are born with the innate ability to empathise with others, and with a strong desire to help people, even if our efforts go unrecognised or unrewarded. Indeed, many values which are fundamental principles of our modern society were not acquired because of religion, but rather due to visionaries who had the courage to fight organised religion and the state for what they believed in. Do we need to be religious to be good? Absolutely not."
Middle Category (ages 16-17)
Winner: Jade Jackman, 17, from Westminster School
Subject: Why Should Other Religions Talk To Each Other?
"Faith is not something that is necessarily rational. You cannot teach someone to appreciate it; the way to gain appreciation of religion is from seeing how important it genuinely is to people, and the best way to gauge the importance of something is from hearing about it from someone you have learnt to value as an equal."
Highly Commended: Miriam Hargreaves, 17, from Greycoat Hospital School, Notting Hill
Subject: Why Have Chaplains In Prisons?
"We all need someone who listens but does not judge; a spiritual guide who helps us find faith, even in times of struggle; a person who demonstrates love, acceptance and makes us feel safe. We all need someone who is a positive role model, a walking example of goodness and care; a person who shows us our gifts, and makes us aspire to be a better person."
Senior Category (ages 18-21)
Winner: Hannah Barr, 19, first-year theology student at Exeter University
Subject: Is Believing More Important Than Belonging?
"One believer can reach a person's heart, but a community of believers shows a person what a changed life, a life confident and secure in love and friendship looks like.
"The Christian life is not an easy life to live. It is a life which condemns you to mockery, ridicule, persecution and isolation. That is why it is vital to belong to a community of believers, so that support and comfort can be sought. I did not realise just how important church could be until I found myself several hundred miles from home and feeling so very alone."