VTS Announces Recipient of 2013 John Hines Preaching Award


Media Contact: Curtis Prather
Tel: 703-461-1782
Email: cprather@vts.edu

Alexandria, VA –
The Rev. Catherine D. Hicks, the Rector at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Port Royal, Virginia, has been named recipient of Virginia Theological Seminary’s 2013 John Hines Preaching Award. The award is given annually to the outstanding preaching entry “where prophetic voice is central within the sermon.”

Named in honor of the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, John Hines (VTS ’33), the award celebrates the ministry of preaching and its importance in our Church by recognizing outstanding sermons that are deeply grounded in scripture and focused on the seen and unseen needs of the worshipping community, the nation, and the world.

“Prophetic preaching is vitally important,” said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary. “I am delighted that the Rev. Catherine Hicks has been recognized in this way.”

Hicks’ sermon from October 14, 2012 (Proper 23, Year B), imagines traveling back in time to the 1700s and sharing a meal in the company of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, who was also slave owner and creator of The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth, which we know as the “Jefferson Bible.” “Jefferson admired Jesus as a great ethical teacher,” Hicks says. “I wondered what Jefferson thought of the story of the rich man (Mark 10:17-31). I wondered what Jefferson would make of the fact that Jesus asked the rich man to go, sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

Hicks continued: “Apparently, this story was uncomfortable and challenging for Jefferson as well. I searched carefully through the Jefferson Bible, and I discovered that Jefferson did include some other stories that Jesus told about money, but guess what—the story of the rich man is completely missing in Jefferson’s Bible.

“And that’s our temptation—to edit this story out of our Bibles as Jefferson did, to walk away from Jesus as the rich man did, to ignore seemingly crazy prophets like Amos as the people of the northern kingdom of Israel did, and to continue to enjoy, without question, our wealth.” The full text of Hicks’ sermon can be found here.

Virginia Seminary invites all preachers – bishops, priests, deacons and laity of the Episcopal Church in America – to submit sermons. Sermons preached outside the United States by clergy who are canonically resident in a diocese of the Episcopal Church USA and by lay people who are parishioners in an Episcopal Church USA congregation are acceptable as well. Visit www.vts.edu for more information.

Founded in 1823, Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest of the 11 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church. The school prepares men and women for service in the Church worldwide, both as ordained and lay ministers, and offers a number of professional degree programs and diplomas. Currently, the Seminary represents more than 42 different dioceses and 5 different countries, for service in the Church.