The University of Hamburg department of peace church theology has awarded the Menno Simons Sermon Prize to Joachim Leberecht, pastor of Evangelical Lydia Church in Herzogenrath, Germany.
The winning sermon will be delivered during the worship service Sept. 3 at Hamburg-Altona Mennonite Church, followed by the public award ceremony.
The sermon was originally delivered on Good Friday in 2022 as part of a Passion sermon series about dreams. Leberecht connects literary tales of dreams to the nightmare of war in Ukraine. The sermon recalls the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, concluding that “we should no longer sacrifice people. It is enough once and for all.” Leberecht laments the attitudes of church leaders amid the war and recalls conscientious objectors’ testimony.
“Through Jesus’ death, we are freed and called to nonviolent resistance,” the sermon concludes.
A pastor in Evangelical Churches in the Rhineland for 30 years, Leberecht introduced the sermon series to strengthen preaching culture. Since the war in Ukraine began, he has held a poster in Herzogenrath’s weekly market calling on Russia and Ukraine to lay down weapons.
The prize encourages sermons that “bring the biblical testimony in the light of the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition.” The $2,150 prize is divided between the award winner and their home congregation.
Have a comment on this story? Write to the editors. Include your full name, city and state. Selected comments will be edited for publication in print or online.