This year’s winner of the CTE MA Mission Prize is Owen May, whose thesis entitled A Theology of Mission for Scriptural Reasoning – Guesthood: The Good Samaritan, The Incarnation, and Mystery from Cranmer Hall in Durham. Owen was delighted to have won saying, “It’s wonderful news and totally unexpected. What is really encouraging is that more people are becoming interested in relationships between those of the Abrahamic faiths and finding ways into deeper understanding and friendship.”
Churches Together in England (CTE), alongside the Mission Research Network set up the MA Mission Prize to draw out high quality, recently passed MA theses to add to a growing repository of MAs and PhDs which CTE hosts and curates. There will be close 100 MAs and PhDs in the online library by the end of the 2022.
There were more than 20 entries in this second year of the prize. These came from theological institutions ranging from Cliff College to Nazarene Theological college and from Ridley to All Nations. The entries were around a rich range of topics from neurodiversity in mission to the missional significance of mysticism. A shortlist of five dissertations was passed on to our judges Dr Elizabeth Joy (Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and CTE Trustee) Victoria Turner (PhD Candidate at Edinburgh University and CTE Trustee) and Rev Dr Canon Nigel Rooms (Church Mission Society).
The winner receives a £100 cash gift and an opportunity for the MA to appear in an edited format (6,000 words) in the journal Ecclesial Futures now published in Diamond Open Access format with Radboud University Press in the Netherlands.
Rev Dr Canon Nigel Rooms said, “This piece of work was a sophisticated, original argument rooted in evangelicalism yet crossing boundaries into other traditions without giving up on the evangelical position – that was its real strength.” Victoria Turner another judge and CTE Trustee commented, “The discussion of scriptural reasoning and evangelism was sensitive, critical, creative and well researched. I am really impressed with the author’s balance of expressing evangelical mentality and also the importance of interfaith with mindfulness towards the receptivity of the “other.” Dr Elizabeth Joy said, “the work was comprehensive, relevant, and ideal with the focus on hospitality.”
Owen studied at Cranmer Hall in Durham and expressed thanks to his tutor Rev Dr Will Foulger. Dr Foulger said, “That’s fantastic news! So pleased for him. I supervised him, so this is encouraging too!”
Owen became Christian at 17 having grown up in a Christian family. He ended up studying theology at Durham and now has a role at the Rose Castle Foundation. The Rose Castle Foundation is a peacebuilding organisation specialising in the Abrahamic faiths, which equips tomorrow’s leaders with the skills, tools, and habits needed to transform conflict.
Owen project manages Scriptural Reasoning programmes and content for the Rose Castle Foundation. He wanted to go deeper into the theological implications particularly from an evangelical perspective and did the MA as a 2-year part time degree.
Owen is a member of St Michaels Church, Dalston in the Diocese of Carlisle.