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Jubilee Essay Contest

As part of Christian Associates' 50th anniversary celebrations in 2020, Christian Associates is cultivating a new generation of ecumenical thinkers by hosting an essay contest for students in middle and high school, college, graduate school, and seminary. We are excited to read what young and emerging leaders think about the unity of the church.

Entries will be accepted in three categories:


Students in grades 6-12 should submit up to 500 words on the topic: “In John 17:21, Jesus prayed ‘that [Christians] may all be one.’ When his prayer is fulfilled, what do you imagine that our unity will look like?”


Undergraduate students should submit up to 1000 words on the topic: "Why does Christian unity matter in the 21st century?"


Seminarians and other graduate students should submit up to 2000 words on the topic: "What opportunities and obstacles do you anticipate in the next fifty years of the ecumenical movement?”

First place in each category will receive $250, and second place will receive $100.

Contest Guidelines:

All essays must be the author's original and previously unpublished work, with any outside sources properly cited. Any entry discovered to be plagiarized will be immediately disqualified.


The contest is open to any student enrolled in a school, college, university, or seminary located in Southwest Pennsylvania. Students attending school elsewhere who have home addresses in Southwest Pennsylvania are also eligible. Members of Christian Associates’ Council of Bishops & Judicatory Executives, Christian Associates staff members, and their immediate families are not eligible to enter.


To enter, please download and complete this entry form. To preserve anonymity, the name of the author should be included only on the entry form, not on the essay itself.

Mail the entry form and your essay to Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania, attn: Essay Contest, PO Box 5241, Pittsburgh, PA 15206. Alternatively, entries may be emailed to, with the entry form and essay attached in PDF or Microsoft Word format.


Entries must be postmarked or emailed by Wednesday, April 15, 2020.


Entries will be judged anonymously by a panel from Christian Associates’ Council of Bishops and Judicatory Executives. Their decision is final. One first place and one second place winner in each category is expected, but the judges may choose to split the prize, or to award honorary mentions, at their discretion. The judges also reserve the right not to select any essay as the winner.

The author of the first place essay in each category will receive a $250 prize, and the author of the second place essay in each category will receive a $100 prize. Authors will be recognized at Christian Associates Jubilee Celebration on May 28, 2020 at Shadyside Presbyterian Church, and their essays will be published in the anniversary edition of The Word in Our Voices in fall 2020. Other contest entries may also be included in The Word in Our Voices at the editor’s sole discretion. All authors of essays published in The Word in Our Voices will receive a complimentary copy of the book.

Copyright of all submitted essays, including the winners, remains with their authors. 

Questions? Contact the Rev. Liddy Barlow at or 412-688-9070.

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