We are pleased to announce the winners of the contest for hymns on labor and faith. The committee consisted of Jann Aldredge-Clanton, a Dallas pastor and hymn writer, and C. Michael Hawn, University Distinguished Professor of Church Music, and Joerg Rieger, Wendland-Cook Endowed Professor of Constructive Theology, from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. Over thirty entries were submitted. After a blind review, ten worthy finalists were selected, and the winners chosen.
First place is awarded to Heather Josselyn-Cranson, OSL, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Music Ministries, Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa, for her hymn, “Loving God Means Seeking Justice” (THE SERVANT SONG). This award carries a $500 prize.
Second place is awarded to Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, Co-Pastor, Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware and a hymn writer, for her hymn “Christ, When Were You a Stranger?” (AURELIA). This award carries a $300 prize.
Two entries received honorable mention: “Good Work Begins with Our Great God” (McKEE) by William Allen Pasch, Professor of English, Emeritus, Clayton State University and Organist, First Presbyterian Church, Peachtree City, Georgia, and “A Good Day’s Work” (ERIE CANAL) by Douglas E. Norton, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Villanova University, Villanova, PA, and a member of Central Baptist Church, Wayne, PA.
This contest is an extension of the ongoing theological reflection at Perkins School of Theology on issues of labor, class, and the increasing economic divide. These hymns will be included with other traditional and newer songs and hymns of the labor movement in a collection that will encourage congregations to sing of justice not only during worship, but also in the streets. Christian and Jewish faith traditions have much to say about matters of labor. God is presented as a worker forming the human being from clay in Genesis, and, in the incarnation, God joined the workforce in Christ as a day laborer in construction. As the divide between the wealthiest one percent and the working majority grows, our sung faith must express the struggles, hopes, and agency of working people and their communities, giving expression to what Joerg Rieger has called deep solidarity (see Religion, Theology, and Class: Fresh Engagements after Long Silence , ed. Rieger).
– content provided by Perkins School of Theology