The Massachusetts Bible Society established the Donald A. Wells Preaching Prize in 2007 to honor Executive Director Emeritus Donald A. Wells and his commitment to social justice. The prize includes a check for $1,000 and is awarded each year to a student from one of the member schools of the Boston Theological Interreligious Consortium for a sermon based on a biblical text that raises an issue of social justice in the contemporary world.
MBS features an annual social justice theme - determined by our Board of Trustees - that speaks to a timely, contemporary issue through a biblical and theological lens. Wells Preaching Prize submissions must adhere to the theme provided for the current year. Submitted sermons should not be more than 20 minutes in length and are judged according to the appropriateness to the theme, the quality of biblical exegesis, and the ability to present the sermon in an engaging manner.
2022 Preaching Prize Announcement:
This year, our Board of Trustees identified a biblical passage: the New Revised Standard Version of Genesis 1: 26-28. We are accepting sermons building on this passage with a Social Justice theme.
Genesis 1:26-28 - New Revised Standard Version
26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind[a] in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth,[b] and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
27 So God created humankind[c] in his image,
in the image of God he created them;[d]
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
The sermon should not be more than 20 minutes in length and will be judged according to the appropriateness to the theme, the quality of biblical exegesis, and the ability to present the sermon in an engaging manner.
To be eligible, entrants must be a current student at one of the member schools in the Boston Theological Interreligious Consortium.
Each entrant shall submit:
- A cover sheet with name, school, year, degree program, link to sermon, address, phone and email.
- Text of sermon on the identified biblical passage, incorporating a social justice theme.
- Video of that same sermon in a digital format (link to YouTube or Vimeo) should be listed on the cover sheet. You don't need to send the video.
Deadline for submissions: February 25, 2022 | Winner announced: May 27, 2022
Please email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to:
The Massachusetts Bible Society
831 Beacon St, #324, Newton Centre, MA 02459
Preaching Prize Winners:
2020 - 'Of Pandemics and Paracletes' - Scott Donahue-Martens, Boston University School of Theology - View sermon
2019 - 'Fear Not: Working for Justice in a World Split Asunder' - Mimi Micner, Hebrew College Rabbinical School
2017 - 'Shabbat Hayei Sarah' - Salem Pearce, Hebrew College Rabbinical School - View sermon
2016 - 'Are We Always with the Poor? Welcoming the Stranger, Responding to Need' - Amelia Nugent, Harvard Divinity School - View sermon
2015 - 'Overcoming the Wounds of Racism (Jeremiah 8:18-22)' - Art J. Gordon, Boston University School of Theology - View sermon
2014 - 'Jesus' Strange Economy' - Alex Kato, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary - View sermon
2013 - 'The Great Footwashing Imposition' - Arienne Johnson, Harvard Divinity School - View sermon
The Massachusetts Bible Society is able to sustain its ministries of Bible Grants, promoting Biblical literacy, and nurturing open spiritual/theological dialogue through financial contributions from people and organizations such as you.