By Amy Eckert
Jordan Redding, an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and a doctoral student from Dunedin, New Zealand, has been named the winner of the 2017 Lombard Prize.
In association with Lombard, Odier & Cie, Bankers of Geneva, Switzerland, the WCRC called for entries in the essay competition in January, 2017. The competition was intended to challenge young theologians no older than age 30 to write on any aspect of the WCRC’s 2017 General Council theme: Living God, renew and transform us. Qualifying essays were to illustrate a familiarity with the Reformed tradition and theology and to demonstrate both theological imagination and a willingness to relate theology to modern-day challenges to witness and mission in the church and the world.
Rev. Redding’s essay, titled “Living God, Renew and Transform Us: Awakening to God’s Reality,” related to the notion of transformative prayer. The piece was based on a passage from John 3 where Nicodemus approaches Christ and acknowledges his divinity. Jesus responds by commanding Nicodemus to be born again.
“Nicodemus came to Jesus on his own terms,” said Redding, “and Christ turned things around. Prayer is not about us coming to God alone, but rather about God’s awakening us to transformation and renewal.” Redding based his essay in part on his doctoral research subject, the 19th-century Swiss Protestant theologian Eduard Thurneysen.
Redding’s essay was judged the winner by a panel of Reformed theologians. His prize includes publication of his essay in an upcoming issue of Reformed World, the official theological journal of the WCRC. Redding also received an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2017 General Council meeting in Leipzig.
The trip to Germany has double value to Redding. Although he greatly appreciates the opportunity to meet and discern with Reformed Church representatives from around the world, his time in Europe will also allow him the chance to conduct research in Basel, where Thurneysen pastored and served as a theological professor.