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Published Date: September 18, 2018

Published Date: September 18, 2018

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Announcing the 2018 Writing Contest Winners!

This August, CBE International held its second popular writing contest! We received over one hundred submissions, making our job of picking just fifteen winners very difficult.

We’d like to thank all the gifted writers who participated. Thank you for being brave enough to share your stories. Thank you for embracing vulnerability when it’s sometimes easier to hide. Thank you for never wavering in your commitment to justice and freedom. Thank you for urging the church to more fully align itself with God’s redemptive vision for the world. Thank you for always being shalom people. You make us better and we honor you.

With difficulty, we chose fifteen winners and six honorable mentions, which you’ll see published on our website in the coming months along with many other amazing entries.

Congratulations to our top fifteen winners (in no particular order)!

1. Jill Richardson

Jill Richardson is a writer, speaker, and pastor in the Chicago area. She loves her three daughters and husband, fish tacos, Lord of the Rings, Earl Grey, traveling, grace, and Jesus. She is currently working on her doctorate in church leadership.

5 Things the Bible Does (and Doesn’t) Say About Modesty

2. Amanda Hansen

Amanda Hansen is a hospital chaplain, as well as a member and ordinand at Foothill Community Church, a Free Methodist church. Some of her interests include practical theology, pastoral care and counseling, and theologies of grief and lament. Amanda lives in Upland, California, with her husband, James.

When You’re Voted “Most Likely to Become a Pastor,” But You’re a Girl

3. Noemi Vega Quinones

Noemi Vega Quinones is the oldest daughter, a Mexican immigrant, and the South Texas area ministry director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Her hobbies include kickboxing, and talking about and teaching theology. Noemi co-authored Hermanas: Deepening Our Identity and Growing our Influence with Natalia Kohn and Kristy Garza Robinson.

Am I Dust or Am I Daughter? A Woman Pastor’s Journey Toward Worth and Identity

4. Sierra Neiman Westbrook

Sierra Neiman Westbrook, MDiv, is an adjunct professor of Christian studies at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. She is also a certified spiritual director, providing spiritual direction and spiritual formation opportunities through She and her husband, Justin, have been married since June, 2017.

Choose Your Own Adventure: A Very Egalitarian Proposal

5. Christine Woolgar

Christine Woolgar is an avid reader and musician. Living in the UK, she loves to delve Scripture and write both creatively and analytically on hope, sexuality, and consent. She also has experience leading worship and volunteering for a leading domestic violence charity. You can find her via:

Blog: Light in Grey Places
Facebook: @workthegreymatter
Twitter: @hope4greyplaces

What I Wish the Church Had Told My Husband and Me About Sex and Consent

6. Lisa Bartelt

Lisa Bartelt has an incurable case of curiosity, loves a good story, and won’t start her morning without a cup of coffee. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids, and writes about books, justice, faith, and unexpected turns at her blog, Beauty on the Backroads.

The Good News About Sex After Marriage: You Can Still Say “No”

7. Melissa Spolar

Melissa Spolar is an LA native and recent MDiv graduate from Azusa Pacific Seminary, with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She is passionate about exploring tough, practical issues in ministry from a holistic perspective.

Hey Church, We Need to Talk About Consent

8. Marie H

Marie H lives in Canada with her husband. She has a master’s in theological studies, enjoys difficult conversations, and exploring ideas around grace, Sabbath, and God’s love. She writes a bit of poetry in her spare time and is always ready for a good hike.

There’s A Woman in Your Pew Who’s Been Abused. Do You See Her?

9. Sarah Judd-Lam

Sarah is an Australian woman of faith who loves writing about social issues and is passionate about understanding why we do things the way we do, and how we can do them better.

The Fifties Housewife in my Head: Finding Freedom from Shame and Inadequacy

10. Michelle D. Williams

Rev. Michelle D. Williams is the dean of students at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. In this capacity, her focus is primarily on shepherding community life on campus. She views her vocation as calling and counts it a privilege to “journey with” men and women as they prepare for ministry.

Women in Ministry, Reclaim Your Time!

11. Ella Hickey

Ella is a coffee drinking, exasperatingly optimistic, irresponsibly tattooed, twenty-something assistant pastor, Christian radio announcer, and theological pilgrim.

Single People Aren’t Problems to Be Fixed or Threats to Be Neutralized

12. Camden Morgante

Camden Morgante lives in Knoxville, TN, with her husband. She has a doctorate of psychology and is a licensed clinical psychologist and a university assistant professor. She is currently working on researching and writing a book on the myths and messages of purity culture. Her website is

5 Purity Culture Myths and Why They Are False Promises

13. Julie Meyer Taylor

Julie Meyer Taylor has an MS in marriage and family therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary and worked many years as a social worker in the foster care system. She is a freelance writer who has been married for twenty-four years and lives in Arizona with her husband and three boys.

Girls Should Not Have to Ask If God Likes Boys Better

14. Lyndsey Medford

Lyndsey Medford is the director of discipleship at Two Rivers Church in Charleston, SC. On her days off, she’s usually in her garden, baking something yummy, or at the beach with her husband and rescue pup. Lyndsey writes about Jesus, justice, and self-love on Instagram (@lyndseymedford) and at

It’s Time for a Sexual Ethic Jesus Might Have Actually Preached

15. Rachel Sheild Gustafson

Rachel Sheild Gustafson is a writer, advocate, and mother who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. You might also find her hiking the Superior Shore with her family, dancing in her kitchen by herself, or dreaming of ways to pursue flamenco, fiddling, or farming alpaca.

Honorable Mentions:

1. Connie Baker

A mental health therapist in Portland, Oregon, since 2005, Connie Baker is also a wife, mom, stepmom, speaker, writer, and teacher.

5 Reasons Why It’s Okay to Tell Your Story of Abuse—Even When People Don’t Want to Hear It

2. Tim Ritter

Tim is an ex-pastor who has seen the good, bad, and the ugly of American Christianity. He is co-host of a podcast called Almost Heretical that seeks to challenge many of the norms in Evangelicalism in order to make Christianity possible again for those who’ve been hurt by the church or grown frustrated with the faith.

Without Gender Equality, Our Gospel Has A Hole In It

3. Kate Dewhurst

Kate Dewhurst has worked as a pastor, teacher, and writer and is currently the program coordinator at Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries in Vancouver, an organization that works to prepare the church to support mental health recovery. She has a degree in English Literature and international development studies and enjoys exploring the intersection of gender, theology, and mental health.

Why Are We Teaching Girls to Hate Their Bodies?

4. Jonathan Schut

Jonathan Schut is the senior pastor of Tryon Baptist Church in Tryon, PEI, Canada. He is currently working on a master of theological studies at Tyndale Seminary. He and his wife live in Charlottetown, PEI, where they spend their time together hiking, finding great new restaurants, and binge-watching Netflix.

Jacob, Esau, and What It Means to Be a “Good Man”

5. Becci Curtis-Lillie

As a graduate of Whitworth University and Princeton Theological Seminary, Becci is an ordained pastor with over twenty-two years of experience in professional ministry. She is currently working as a principal and chaplain with Pacific Renewal Consulting. She enjoys spending her free time fly fishing around the Pacific Northwest with her husband.

6. Amanda Yang

Amanda is an avid reader, writer, and traveler. An unapologetic Christian Feminist, she enjoys arguing with random people on the internet. She lives in South Los Angeles with her husband and foil, Hamilton. Together they enjoy baking, mentoring young people, and sharing the pants in their relationship.

When Churches Don’t Believe Victims, They Commit Abuse

Congratulations to our winners and honorable mentions, and thank you to everyone who submitted to our contest! We’ll see you next August.