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. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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 www.edenspiritualcare.org. She and her husband, Justin, have been married since June, 2017.
6. 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
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Ella Hickey
Ella is a coffee drinking, exasperatingly optimistic, irresponsibly tattooed, twenty-something assistant pastor, Christian radio announcer, and theological pilgrim.
13. 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 drcamden.wordpress.com
14. 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.
15. 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 lyndseymedford.com.
1. Connie Baker
A mental health therapist in Portland, Oregon, since 2005, Connie Baker is also a wife, mom, stepmom, speaker, writer, and teacher.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Congratulations to our winners and honorable mentions, and thank you to everyone who submitted to our contest! We’ll see you next August.