Sermon-Spiritual Presentation Contest 2021

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Submission Guidelines

Two $500 prizes will be awarded in 2022 to the people who have delivered the best sermon/spiritual presentation on our responsibilities to nonhuman animals in the two categories mentioned below. Please share this contest with religious leaders, spiritual practitioners, and lay speakers. The contest is open to all. Sermons/spiritual presentations must have been presented during a worship service at a church, synagogue, temple, mosque, sangha, spiritual community, or place of faith between June 30, 2021 and December 31, 2022 in order to be eligible.

The Interfaith Vegan Coalition thanks our allies at the Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry (UUAM) for funding one of the prizes. Our contest was modeled directly after the longstanding annual UUAM sermon contest with assistance from coalition member Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy. 

Please include a copy of the order of service or other document reflecting the presentation date. Submissions must be received by January 31, 2023. All submissions must include a complete transcript or notes of the sermon/spiritual presentation furnished as a Word, text, Google Doc, or PDF document. Recorded, videotaped, or PowerPoint presentations are welcome, but a written transcript or notes is required.

Two Categories:

  1. Vegan - how your faith supports/encourages a vegan lifestyle
  2. Compassion for All Animals - how your faith embraces compassion for all beings 

Notes: Interfaith Vegan Coalition Member organizations are welcome to apply, but not join in the judging process. Category #2 must not mention or promote “humane” or “sustainable” meat or animal products of any kind. 

People of the Global Majority, BIPOC people, LGBTQ people, and differently-abled people are encouraged to apply. We welcome submissions from people of any race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, family or parental status, veteran or disability status. Sermons in a language other than English must be accompanied by an English translation. 

Submission Format 

The sermon/spiritual talk’s title, author’s name, contact information (please include both an email and phone number), date presented, location of the presentation to include the congregation or community, city, state/province and country, should be listed on the cover sheet. Subsequent pages should only list the sermon/spiritual talk title and page number. This is requested to avoid any unintentional bias if a judge is familiar with the author.

Please submit inquiries and entries to with “Sermon/Spiritual Presentation Entry” and your name in the subject line. If possible, submit entries as email attachments or Google drive/Dropbox links and additional links to online reference material for your sermon/spiritual presentation.

By entering the contest, you grant the Interfaith Vegan Coalition permission to use all or excerpts of your submission (with attribution) to create a new worship resource. 

Judging Criteria 

There are seven criteria that will be used for judging. New voices are encouraged to apply. 

  1. Clarity: the sermon/spiritual presentation is well-written and well-structured with a beginning, main points, and closure and includes citations and attributes where appropriate.
  2. Engaging: The sermon/spiritual presentation engages the audience, captivates, retains attention. Illustrations, slides, music, etc., make for a more interesting presentation.
  3. Empathic: The sermon/spiritual presentation topic meets the audience where they are regarding our relationship to nonhuman animals.
  4. Transformational: The sermon/spiritual presentation introduces and/or challenges the audience to a new way of perceiving themselves, the community, the world, and/or divinity, as regards our relationship to nonhuman animals.
  5. Ethical: The sermon/spiritual presentation invites and motivates the audience into more just, merciful, and/or compassionate action for nonhuman animals.
  6. Spiritual: The sermon/spiritual presentation makes room for a variety of theological or spiritual perspectives and beliefs.
  7. Submission Deadline: All entries must be received by IVC no later than August 30, 2022.

Other important factors:

  • Relate the teaching to holidays within the religion or wisdom tradition
  • Pose a strong argument with a compelling delivery (use personal anecdotes or contemporary information and examples; speak to a diverse audience)
  • Invite questions/challenges to the community that spark new ideas and inquiry
  • Provide clear messages, take-aways, and action steps that draw upon introduced teachings

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