Write for peace—and win money!

Anita Hooley YoderAnita Hooley Yoder is a 2014 graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary. She is currently working on several writing projects, including Sunday school curriculum for Shine and a history book for Mennonite Women USA. She and her husband live in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

Calling all peace-loving students! Bethany Theological Seminary has posted guidelines for their annual peace essay contest. It is open to high school, college, seminary, and graduate school students, and essays are judged with consideration of their author’s age and experience. Prizes are $2,000 for first place, $1,000 for second, and $500 for third.

This year’s topic is “Peacemaking, Justice, and the Beloved Community.” Contestants are invited to write an essay that explores creation care and climate justice as opportunities for a broad and diverse peace movement. Suggested topics include: creation care; a just peace with creation, indigenous communities’ rights, environmental racism, gender and ecology, creating a greener economy, creation-centered spirituality, forging alliances across the traditional “left vs. right” ideological framing of US politics, and forming interreligious and intercultural coalitions for the common good.

Last year’s winners were a Mennonite seminary student (me!), a Quaker Ph.D. student, and a Church of the Brethren high school student. This contest was a great way for me to think through and articulate the ways that a peace perspective has been central to my personal transformation and my hopes for the church. Besides the monetary prize, winning the contest helped my writing gain exposure, since excerpts of my essay have been (or will be) featured in Brethren and Mennonite denominational magazines and an academic journal.

The essay is due January 26 and may be submitted at www.bethanyseminary.edu/peace-essay starting January 1, 2015. Guidelines for the contest are also found there. Best wishes for creative and prophetic writing!