Skinner Sermon Award

Presented annually to the preacher of the sermon best expressing Unitarian Universalism's social principles.

The Skinner Sermon Award honors Clarence Skinner, the late dean of the Tufts College School of Religion in Medford, MA. and a major voice of prophetic religious liberalism. As Professor of Applied Christianity at Tufts College (now Tufts University) from 1914 to 1945, he introduced generations of Tufts students to the social, economic, and political realities that shape religion and are in turn shaped by it. His manifesto, The Social Implications of Universalism (1915), gave American Universalism an ethical platform by stating the religious underpinnings of such reforms as abolition, women's liberation, and the humane treatment of prisoners.

The first recipient of the Skinner Sermon Award was Rev. Manuel R. Holland in 1959.

Open to any Unitarian Universalist layperson, religious educator, or minister, the Skinner Sermon award was established to stimulate preaching concerned with the social implications of religion—particularly needed in this period of history. Criteria employed in judging the sermons include: grasp of the subject, religious depth, originality, conviction, and understanding of other perspectives. These qualities are also considered: prophecy and timeliness, courage, personal involvement, strong argument, orientation to action, and inspiration.

The award carries an honorarium of $500. The winning sermon will be distributed and promoted through a variety of Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) communications channels. Learn about past recipients of the Skinner Sermon Award.

2023 Winner

Rev. Jim Foti, "Resisting Tyranny" (PDF)

Rev. Jim Foti is a Unitarian Universalist minister focusing on short-term ministries in the Upper Midwest, and he serves as a Congregational Life adjunct with the UUA's MidAmerica Region. He is pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree in creative writing and public theology at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and he previously served eight years as an assistant minister at the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis. He and his partner live in Minneapolis.

Learn about past recipients of the Skinner Sermon Award.

Requirements for Submission

Submission requirements for 2024 will be posted in June 2024.

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