John R. Mabry jmabry at apocryphile.org
Tue Mar 6 10:13:39 PST 2012

So You Think You Can Preach!? Announcing the second annual Fr. Richard Mapplebeckpalmer Preaching Contest

Grace North Church presents a sermon contest open to all students at the Graduate Theological Union and the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts and Interfaith Ministry. The first prize winner for this contest will receive $350, the second prize will receive $100, and the third prize will receive $50.

Here’s How It Works...

ROUND ONE: WRITE A SERMON | Students entering the contest should submit 1) a letter of introduction, including school affiliation and course of study; 2) one written sermon of approximately 2000 words, based on the lectionary texts for the Feast of the Ascension, Year B: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53; plus the following reading from the Buddhist scriptures: The Buddha turned to his disciples and said to them: “Everything comes to an end. I have done what I could do, both for myself and others. To stay here would from now on be without any purpose. Hereafter my teaching shall abide for generations. Therefore, recognize the true nature of the living world, and do not be anxious; for separation cannot possibly be avoided. Recognize that all that lives is subject to this law; and strive from today that it shall be thus no more! Everything is bound to perish in the end. Be ye therefore mindful and vigilant! The time for my entry into Nirvana has now arrived! These are my last words!” And when the Sage entered Nirvana, the earth quivered like a ship struck by a storm, and fire fell from the sky (Parinirvana). 

Sermons will be judged on the following criteria: Does it show theological and spiritual insight, (including good use of texts)? Is it appropriate for Grace North Church? (See more about us below.) Will it preach? (In other words, is it well-written, and is it a sermon, rather than a lecture or short essay?) Three finalists will be selected from the entries received. 

ROUND TWO: WRITE AND DELIVER A SERMON | Finalists will be scheduled to preach a sermon at Grace North Church, and will be given the lectionary readings (including the Interfaith Reading) of the day they are scheduled to preach. Sermons will be judged according to the above criteria plus quality of delivery. A written copy of the sermon must also be submitted on the day it is preached. Finalists will be notified by email, and prizes will be awarded at church the week after the third finalist preaches.
DEADLINES | To enter, please send cover letter and Round One sermon to: Rev. Dr. John R. Mabry, Grace North Church, 2138 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA 94709. Entries must be received by MARCH 21, 2012. Members and trustees of Grace North Church and their families are not eligible. Finalists will be notified by e-mail, and scheduled to preach at Grace North. Winner will be announced and prizes awarded at worship, one week after the final contestant preaches.

QUESTIONS? | Please contact Fr. John at apocryphile at me.com, or call 510-290-4349.

About Grace North Church | Grace North Church formed in 1892, and has proudly served as the Congregational Church in North Berkeley ever since. Grace North Church is deeply ecumenical: it is associated with the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, worships in an Anglican style, and features interfaith teaching (every liturgy features a reading from non-Christian religious tradition in addition to the standard Revised Common Lectionary texts). Fr. Richard Mapplebeckpalmer is pastor emeritus of Grace North Church, and founder of the Abbey of  Merton St. Ambrose in Martinez, CA. He served the Grace Community and Grace North Church from 1989-2008. Contestants are invited to join us any Sunday at 5:00 p.m. to gain a sense of our theologically progressive, liturgically traditional community. Please visit our website: www.gracenorthchurch.org.

Rev. John R. Mabry, PhD
510-290-4349 | apocryphile at me.com

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