A woman from Aylesbury has been named as one of four exceptional preachers who have been shortlisted for a national preaching competition Sermon of the Year hosted by London School of Theology (LST) and Preach magazine
Lydia Lee, 27, successfully submitted a sermon and will be preaching in front of a live audience and BBC camera crew. Lydia will appear on BBC’s The One Show, who are filming the finals of Sermon of the Year happening on Thursday 21st June 2018.
LST and Preach magazine invited entrants from across the country to submit a written sermon of no more than 1500 words in keeping with the theme ‘Be Set Free’. Entries came from preachers as young as 19 through to 83 years old. For a third of entrants it was the first sermon they had ever written.
The top four final submissions were written by:
1 Rebecca Coatsworth, Shropshire
2) Corinne Broughton, Kettering
3) Lydia Lee, Buckinghamshire
4) Esther Longe, Durham
Lydia is based in Buckinghamshire where she worked as a primary school teacher up until last summer, when she felt God was calling her to step away from teaching within an educational setting. She has been preaching at her local church for around five years.
Lydia said: “I love to share the word of God, and whenever I get the opportunity to do so, it always fills me with great excitement.
“I’m excited and nervous in equal measures about being part of the final! But I’m trusting in the Holy Spirit and stepping out in faith and obedience as I share my story, trusting that God will use it to encourage and challenge those who hear it.”
The final will be hosted by Principal of LST, Calvin Samuel and Amelia Gosal, Chief Executive LWPT (Publishers of Preach magazine). The winning sermon will be announced at the finals after a reception at LST’s campus in Northwood. The competition winner will receive a year’s free tuition at London School of Theology or a £500 voucher for the LST bookshop.
Calvin Samuel, Principal of LST, said: “I look forward to hearing the gifted finalists preach their sermons and to welcome the winner to attend LST, one of the world’s leading centres of theological study and training within a global city.
“The competition is always an exciting event for LST and Preach magazine and it is wonderful to see the relevance and celebration of preaching in our society today.”
Louisa Lockwood, Editor of Preach, said: “We have been delighted to see the competition go from strength to strength each year but particularly this year with Sermon of the Year 2018. As a team we are inspired by the consistently high standard and style of the entrants. It encourages us and has shown us that preaching is alive and well and still one of the most powerful agents of transformation in the church.”
Shawn Swinney, an Anglican minister was the independent shortlister and he was impressed with the entrants’ ability to offer a fresh perspective on the theme as well as their unconventional approaches to preaching.
The Sermon of the Year competition was launched in 2016 by London School of Theology and Preach magazine, with the hope that it would encourage debate and reflection on the craft of preaching.
Last year’s competition winner, Carole Hodgkins, is a retired secondary school teacher and her winning sermon was the first she’d ever preached. The judges were impressed by her personal and profound take on the competition’s theme, ‘God in the Dark,’ and enjoyed her poised yet vulnerable delivery.
The winner of Sermon of the Year 2018 is able to gift their year’s free tuition to another UK resident if they wish and the runner up prize is a £500 voucher to spend on resources. The top 10 sermons entered will be published in a book and previous competition books can be purchased from CPO.org.uk for £5.