An estimated 1.9 billion people watched Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the first African American to head the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, tell a congregation of royals and celebrities that “love is the way.”
Curry, presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church, is to receive the 2019 Sandford St. Martin Trustees’ Award in recognition of the huge media impact generated by his royal wedding sermon which helped to bring a better understanding of religious belief and its modern relevance to a new audience.
The Rt .Rev. Jan MacFarlane, bishop of Repton and chair of the Sandford St. Martin Trust, said: “One of the indisputable broadcasting highlights of the 2018 royal wedding was Bishop Curry’s sermon. His words were broadcast around the world and were instrumental in shining a spotlight on the central role faith plays in the wider social discourse, and, on how religion can be both hugely engaging and unifying for the public.
“His reminder to audiences of the ‘important stuff’ in life – like fellowship and love – has been crucial at a time such as this, when the social and political divisions in the U.K. and around the world are being so deeply felt.”
The Sandford St. Martin Trustees’ Award recognizes individuals, programs or organizations which have made outstanding contributions to their audience’s understanding of religion, ethics or spirituality. Previous recipients include author, journalist and broadcaster Joan Bakewell, composer Sir John Tavener, journalist Lyse Doucet, and, broadcaster and historian Neil MacGregor.
The U.K. writer, broadcaster and former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Trevor Philips will dedicate Curry’s award at a special ceremony at Lambeth Palace on June 13. Curry videotaped his acceptance speech for the ceremony, because a scheduling conflict prevents him from accepting in person.
This year’s shortlists, judging panels and previous winners are here.
The Sandford St. Martin Trust is an independent, non-profit organization. It has been making annual awards for the best programs about religion, ethics and spirituality since 1978. The Trust engages with a wide range of media organizations, individual journalists, broadcast content-makers and other media figures, many of whom give their time and expertise voluntarily to support the Trust’s work. This work includes contributing to and participating in conferences, festivals and training as well as on-going public consultations and debates on the future of broadcasting.
The Sandford St. Martin Trust supports thought-provoking, distinctive programming that engages with issues of faith, morality and ethics. In recent years the rise of “fake news,” misinformation, hate crimes and an increasingly divided society means the need for religious literacy has never been greater.