Can preaching bring peace?

The Menno Simons Sermon Prize was established by Dr. h.c. Annelie Kümpers-Greve (1946-2017), member of Hamburg-Altona Mennonite congregation in Germany, in 2008 on her conviction about the spoken word. Each year, the Centre for Peace Church Theology at the University of Hamburg, Germany, in cooperation with the Hamburg-Altona congregation awards the €2 000 prize for an address on peace.

“The Menno Simons Sermon Prize encourages and acknowledges sermons that explore the biblical witness through the lens of the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition; promote the peace church tradition in the larger ecumenical context; and communicate in a manner that is effective, convincing and strengthens the spirituality of the hearer,”  says Fernando Enns, endowed professor at the Center.  

Half the prize money is given to the preacher; the remaining half is awarded to the preacher’s congregation to encourage scholarly biblical reflection.

Submissions for the 2021 are welcomed from pastors and lay preachers from around the world in German, English, Dutch, French, Spanish before 1 December 2020. The sermon should have been preached elsewhere before submission.  

Praising the Creator and preserving God’s creation are important parts of our call as Christians to be “salt” in the world, says Andrea Schneider. The broadcasting officer of the Association of Evangelical Free Churches (VEF) in Germany received the 2020 prize for her sermon on Matthew 5:13.

Her award-winning sermon will be heard 1 November 2020 at the service of the Mennonite Church in Hamburg-Altona. The public award ceremony will take place immediately after that.

“Preaching is not [simply] information, but the beginning of a process of transformation,” says pastor Markus Hentschel of the host church. The peace sermons put current social or political conflict in the light of God’s peace and the church’s agency, he says.

“We also hear the voice from another congregation which reminds us that peace also means being connected with one another,” says Hentschel.

The 2012 sermon by Lydia Penner, a Canadian living in the Netherlands, continues to inspire him. “The great dream of peace…is not realized through power politics and violence but grows out of seemingly ineffective acts by individuals.” 

The selection committee includes Fernando Enns, Hans-Martin Gutmann, Lukas Amstutz, Christina Duhoux, Birgit Foth, Christiane Karrer, Heinrich Wiens.


Previous prize winners

2024 Riki Neufeld, pastor of Evangelical Mennonite Congregation Schänzli in Muttenz (Switzerland).
2023 Joachim Lebrerecht, pastor of Lydia-Congregation Herzogenrath, Protestant Church in the Rhineland (EKiR), Aachen, Germany
2022 Peter Stucky, pastor of the Mennonite congregation of Teusaquillo in Bogotá, Colombia
2021 Daniel Kaiser, radio host, NDR 90.3, Hamburg, Germany
2020 Andrea Schneider, Broadcasting Officer of the Association of Evangelical Free Churches (VEF), Germany
2019 Dr. Jochen Wagner, chair of the Council of Churches in Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland, Germany
2018 Rainer W. Burkart, pastor of the Mennonite congregation in Enkenbach and Neudorferhof, Germany
2017 Dr. Betty Pries, Waterloo North Mennonite Church, Canada
2016 Marie-Noëlle von der Recke, Mennonite congregation at Weierhof/ Pfalz, Germany
2015 Dr. Pieter Post, pastor of the Mennonite congregation in Ijmond, Netherlands
2014 Carmen Rossol, pastor of the Mennonite congregation in Weierhof/Pfalz, Germany
2013 Andrea Lange, Mennonite theologian, Mainz, Germany
2012 Lydia Penner, Pastor of Doopsgezinde Gemeente Den Haag, Netherlands
2011 Lukas Amstutz, Mennonite theologian at Bienenberg, Switzerland
2010 Jürg Bräker, Mennonite theologian, Heidelberg-Bammental, Germany
2009 Ernst Christian Driedger, Mennonite congregation of Limburgerhof-Kohlhof, Germany


Read more and find out how to apply for 2023

Updated 31 May 2024