Pastor in Switzerland wins German sermon prize named for Dutch leader

Riki Neufeld Riki Neufeld

Riki Neufeld, a pastor at Schänzli Evangelical Mennonite Church in Muttenz, Switzerland, is this year’s recipient of the Menno Simons Sermon Prize. The prize is awarded by the University of Hamburg department of peace church theology.

Born in Paraguay, Neufeld studied at Steinbach Bible College in Manitoba and has worked in Mennonite educational roles since 2011 in Switzerland. He will receive the award Sept. 1 at Hamburg-Altona Mennonite Church in Germany after delivering it during that morning’s worship service.

The sermon, based on Deborah’s Song in Judges 5, was originally delivered on Feb. 26, the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Neufeld compares the song’s focus on murder, manslaughter, rape and oppression to the search for justice today in Ukraine. He addresses ambivalent feelings about arms deliveries from the West to defend against Russia’s attack. Deborah’s song heralds the murder of a tyrant by a woman, resulting in liberation, which Neufeld holds in comparison to Jesus’ temptations in Luke 4.

The international prize encourages sermons that “express biblical testimony in the light of the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition.” The $2,150 prize is divided between the award winner and their home congregation.

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