Read about the winners and their sermons from previous years of the Dana Greeley Sermon Competition:
2019/20 Winner: Alex Jensen
Alex Jensen's winning sermon, "Why Equity?", addresses the 2019/20 theme, Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World.
Alex Jensen is the Ministerial Intern at First Parish in Wayland, MA, and a second-year Master of Divinity Candidate at Harvard Divinity School. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Alex is studying for ordained Unitarian Universalist Ministry and is a Candidate for the Ministry. He graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Monterey Bay with a BA in Human Communication and Peace Studies and a Minor in Music (violin).
2018/19 Winner: Rev. Karen G. Johnston
Rev. Karen Johnston's winning sermon, "That the Children of Our Children’s Children May Live: Reflections on the Migrant Crisis at the Border" addresses the 2018/19 theme, When Crisis Calls: Advancing Just Migration for All.
Rev. Karen G. Johnston is currently the settled minister at The Unitarian Society, a Unitarian Universalist Congregation in East Brunswick, NJ. After receiving her Master of Divinity from a Cooperative program between Hartford Seminary and Andover Newton Theological School, she was ordained in 2016. Reverend Johnston also holds a Master of Social Work from the Smith College School for Social Work. She is currently taking part in the UUMA’s Beyond the Call 3 program in prophetic ministry.
2017/18 Winner: Toben Squires
Toben Squires's winning sermon, "Piercing the Sound of Silence: Prophetic Witness in the 21st Century" addresses the 2017/18 theme, Arm in Arm: Interfaith Action to Disarm Our Planet.
Toben R. Squires is a third year seminary student at Starr King School for the Ministry. He recently took a class on Prophetic Witness and UUA Polity from Rev. Dr. Meg Richardson where he focused on international peace and conflict, and this sermon was profoundly inspired by the work he did for that course. His call to ministry was long in the making but started to coalesce the moment he first held his newborn daughter and began to understand how truly large AND small this world can be.
2015/16 Winner: Douglas Gaines Harrell
Douglas Harrell's winning sermon "Only Love Can" addresses the 2015/16 theme: International Criminal Justice: From Punitive to Restorative. His sermon speaks to the war on drugs and the importance of drawing from broader contexts to solve problems such as crime, terrorism, or drug abuse. An excerpt of Doug’s sermon was presented at the International Reception at UUA General Assembly 2016 in Columbus, OH.
About Douglas Harrell: Douglas Harrell attended his first UU service while visiting friends in Connecticut after the death of his first wife, Carolyn, in 2001 and quickly realized that he had been a UU his whole life without realizing it. Doug and his wife, Michelle, attend the UU Society of Millcreek, Delaware where he leads Sunday RE for the senior youth. Doug is also a regular summer visitor to the UU of Southern Delaware in Lewes. An engineer by profession, Doug has a passion for history, including religious history. He is a firm believer in studying the lessons of the past to gain insight into the problems of today, as he does in his sermon, “Only Love Can.”
2014/15 Winner: Rev. Colin Bossen
Rev. Colin Bossen's winning sermon, "This Land is Your Land?" addresses the 2014 theme, Sacred Roots: Indigenous Rights, Resistance, and Reclamation. His sermon speaks to the Doctrine of Discovery and the importance of respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.
An award winning preacher, scholar, and social justice organizer, the Rev. Colin Bossen is currently working on his doctorate at Harvard University where he is studying the relationship between theology and social movements. Prior to returning to academia Bossen served as a parish minister for six years. He serves on the steering committee for the Work Peoples College and the Unitarian Universalist History and Heritage Society board and is the author of two religious education curriculums and close to two dozen published essays, articles, book chapters and poems.
2013/14 Winner: Group from Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
The winner in 2013/14 was a group from Morristown Unitarian Fellowship including George Hays, Gabor Kiss, James McCormack, Sarah Matsushima, and Shari Loe. Rather than simply submitting the sermon text from their UN Sunday service, they also included the music that was used and referred to in the sermon, as well as the customized chalice lighting text, and four individual reflections by two adult and two youth members of our congregation, because the Homily, or Sermon, requires the context of the other pieces. This service, entitled "A Concept to Fire the Heart" was presented at Morristown Unitarian Fellowship on November 10, 2013, addressing the year's theme Love, Sex, and Violence: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in a Globalized World.
George Hays, an engineer who studied at Starr King, then worked in industry until retiring in 1999 after 34 years, has filled numerous leadership roles at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, and pursued a variety of projects with other non-profits as well. George and Beverly, his wife of 43 years, live in Morristown, NJ, and run a divorce mediation practice.
Gabor Kiss is a software engineer, married father of two, and a first generation Hungarian immigrant. An active member of the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship who is fluent in Hungarian, the language of the Transylvanian Unitarians, he is particularly involved with the Partner Church Movement. Per Gabor, "UU is where you go to get your answers questioned."
James McCormack is a rising junior at Morris Knolls High School in New Jersey. James has attended many UU cons, Camp Unirondack and for the past 2 years the UU@UN Spring Seminar. He is now a Youth Envoy for the Fellowship. Being a UU motivates him to keep going and living to the fullest.
Sarah Matsushima is a 2014 graduate of Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, NJ, as well as the Manhattan School of Music Pre-college Division. A 2013 summer intern at the UU@UN, Youth Envoy for two years, on the Spring Seminar 2014 Planning Committee, and co-Head HOTY (Head of the Youth) for the same Seminar, she plans to attend Berklee College of Music.
Shari Loe is an attorney at AT&T and married mother of three children (including Sarah Matsushima). A lifelong UU, she has served as UU@UN Envoy to the Fellowship for five years, teaches middle schoolers in the Religious Education program and has been on the Board of Trustees.
2012/13 Winner: Dylan Doyle-Burke
The winning sermon, "Self Evident" was written by Dylan Doyle-Burke and addresses the 2012/13 theme Beyond Borders: Breaking Barriers of Race and Immigration. Dylan is a first year Masters of Divinity student studying at Union Theological Seminary and is currently an Aspirant for Unitarian Universalist Ministry. He is a politically oriented spoken word poet who performs around New York City living out an ever-present goal of giving voice to the voiceless. Dylan has been an intern for the Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations for over one year and currently serves on the UU@UN's Ministerial Outreach Committee. He is also the New York Outreach Coordinator for the Unitarian Universalist organization Promise the Children that uses congregational advocacy to fight for children's rights locally and nationally. You are welcome to read the text of Dylan's sermon (PDF) and watch a video below of him delivering excerpts at a UUA General Assembly reception in Louisville, KY in June 2013.
2011/12 Winner: Kent Price
We extend our congratulations to Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations (UU@UN) Envoy Kent Price, winner of the 2012 Rev. Dana Greeley Award! This year, sermons highlighted empowering women for a better world. The award honors the memory of Reverend Dana McLean Greeley, the first president of the Unitarian Universalist Association and a strong supporter of the United Nations.
Read Kent’s sermon “Half of Humanity” (Word) which he delivered during the 2012 UU@UN annual reception at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) General Assembly in June.
Kent has been a Unitarian Universalist since the mid-1960s and a UU@UN envoy since 2007. Read more about Kent’s path to the UU@UN (Word).