Donald A. Wells Preaching Prize

Congratulations to Scott Donahue-Martens, Ph.D. candidate at Boston University School of Theology! Scott is the 2020 recipient of the Donald A. Wells Preaching Prize. Our panel of judges awarded Scott this year's prize for his sermon, 'Of Pandemics and Paracletes'.  

The Wells Preaching Prize winners are awarded $1,000. 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. 

Each entrant submits the following: Text of sermon on our designated annual social justice theme; a video presentation of that sermon in a digital format of the student's choosing; a cover sheet with the entrant's name, school, year, degree program, mailing address, phone, and email.


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 Institute 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. The designated theme for 2020 is God Behind Bars.

Below are listed the Preaching Prize recipients from the past several years along with links to the videos of the winning sermons.  

Don Wells was the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bible Society, a Christian non-profit organization working to promote biblical literacy, understanding, and dialogue as well as a better understanding of the biblical imperatives for justice and reconciliation. A major focus of his work at MBS was to increase awareness of the multiple voices embedded in the biblical texts and of the voices of people at home and around the world who are reading those texts, including feminists, womanists, and all who have traditionally been marginalized. He served MBS for 19 years and was named Emeritus in 2007. He is currently the Theologian in Residence at Old South Church in Boston.

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

2018 - 'Truth Decay, Justice and Alternative Facts' - Godwin Nnanna, Boston University School of Theology 

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.




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