News: preaching competition is set to reach more with message of freedom

Now in its third year, the national Sermon of the Year competition is set to hit new heights with the finals to feature on the BBC’s ‘The One Show.’  

Preachers from around the UK are being encouraged to submit written sermons of no more than 1500 words on the subject ‘Be Set Free’ by midnight on Sunday 18 February 2018. 

Four finalists will preach their sermons on Thursday 21 June 2018 in front of a panel of judges, a BBC camera crew and a live audience at London School of Theology (LST). The first place winner will be awarded a year’s free tuition at LST which the winner can either use themselves or gift to someone else or a £500 LST book shop voucher.   

Rev Dr Calvin Samuel, Principal of LST, will be hosting the competition which will be taking place at the LST campus in Northwood from 7pm. The judging panel consists of a range of accomplished ministers, speakers and academics that are set to evaluate the sermons submitted before concluding on a winner. Panellists for Sermon of the Year 2018 are: 

  • Dr Krish Kandiah – Founding Director of charity Home for Good, academic and theologian  

  • Dr Chloe Lynch – Academic and Practitioner  

  • Rev Anne Calver – Minister and Author 

  • Antony Billington – Head of Theology, LICC 

Dr Calvin Samuel, Principal of LST, said: “Preaching is a key element of life and study at LST. The Sermon of the Year is a great opportunity for preachers, whatever their previous experience, to share and develop their skills with a new audience. We’re excited to be championing the art of sermon preaching. We hope to ignite a passion to share God’s word effectively to the glory of God.” 

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.  

Louisa Lockwood, Editor of Preach, said: “We have been delighted at the interest and conversation generated by Sermon of the Year, and heartened by the consistently high standard of the entrants: we wholeheartedly encourage applicants regardless of level of skill to enter.  

“Sermon of the Year continues to show us that preaching is alive and well and still one of the most powerful agents of transformation in the church.” 

Sermon of the Year 2017’s winner Carole Hodgkins is a retired secondary school teacher and her address was the first sermon she’d ever preached. Carole spoke powerfully about the death of her eldest daughter, who died at age 36 in 2000. 

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 runner up of Sermon of the Year 2018 will be awarded 50% off a year of study at LST or a £250 LST bookshop voucher, and the top 10 sermons entered will be published in a book. Previous years’ books can be purchased from for £5.