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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., (June 30, 2005) — The Acton Institute announced the recipients of the 2005 Homiletics Award, an annual competition for seminarians and graduate students preparing for a career in preaching and teaching ministries.

This year's homiletics competition included entrants from more than 47 different colleges, seminaries, and universities. Contestants were asked to prepare and preach a sermon targeted toward a group of corporate executives at a weekend retreat. This year, participants preached a sermon based on James 5:1-6 “The Warning to Rich Oppressors”.

In all, five recipients were selected:

  • First place prize, $2000: Earl Eckbold, a Master of Divinity student at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA.
  • Second place, $1000: Steven deBoer, a Master of Divinity student at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI.
  • Third place prize, $500: Ken Krause, a Master of Divinity student at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI.
  • Honorable mentions: Gabe Gilliam, a Master of Divinity and Master of Theology student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA; Kenneth Gosnell, a Master of Divinity student at Regent University in Washington, DC.

This year's panel of Homiletics Award judges included Rev. Robert Sirico, co-founder and president of the Acton Institute; Fr. Peter Laird, St. Olaf's Catholic Church, Minneapolis; Dr. Kent Anderson, ACTS of Trinity Western University; and Rev. Scott Greenway, Back to God Hour.

Sermons were judged on both preparation and presentation. Each sermon's content, structure, and exegetical accuracy was evaluated, as well as the entrant's delivery, clarity and style.

The annual Homiletics Award is one of the Acton Institute's many programs designed to assist future religious leaders in developing an understanding of the relationship between morality and the marketplace and becoming articulate proponents of a free and virtuous society.

About the Acton Institute

With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at