The awards for the Top 100 UK Christians were announced, word spread and admonition radiated. #CranmerList2014 was explained, word spread (again), nominations poured in and speculation grew. The waiting is now over.
By overwhelming affirmation and democratic consensus, you have chosen Canon Andrew White – the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ – as your No1 UK Christian for 2014. The first will be last, you say? Quite so: Canon White would not demur from that immutable kingdom principle of selflessness and humility. To be chosen for this honour is not an invitation to pride or an invocation of vanity. Nor is it a denigration of the efforts of other ministers or missionaries who contend for the Faith in a harsh and unforgiving world. This award is bestowed in appreciation of Canon Andrew White’s ministry of peace and reconciliation, and admiration for his faithful dedication to the cause of compassion amidst the deserts of unimaginable suffering and persecution. The citations were effusive:
“For his work for peace in the Middle East in spite of his infirmity within and the warfare without.”
“He affirms to Jesus Christ Lord of all. Even in the present time and awful circumstance Canon White has faithfully served his people in Baghdad, and that despite his poor health.”
“For the cause of spreading the Gospel and shepherding his flock is truly amazing and he is an example to us all.”
“As Bishop of Baghdad he has worked tirelessly for his church over there (often at great risk to himself) and only left when Archbishop Welby pulled him out.”
“His fearless ministry over so many years continues to inspire so many – blessed are the peacemakers!”
“For alerting us to the persecution of Christians in the M.E. For his outstanding bravery and ability to speak the truth about what has been endured by his congregation at St Georg’s in Iraq.”
“For keeping the shockingly dreadful plight of Christians in Iraq in the public eye (and everything else he’s done as Vicar of Baghdad).”
“Brave work as the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ His work in Iraq and Israel. The fact that he works for and respects various faith communities, while remaining totally Christian himself.”
“His work for reconciliation and peace. His commitment to christians in Iraq, even at risk to his own life.”
“Though many of us have been following him for sometime, this year has seen the rise of Canon Andrew White among the popular press. He is now a not infrequent contributor on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. I nominate him because he stands as a wonderful and all too rare example of someone who is living out the great commission, embracing sacrifice and loving his neighbour as his friend.”
“There are very few people so clearly in the world but not of it. He is living in such a place of darkness, yet is a star shining brightly.”
“He is surrounded by a culture of death in Iraq and a culture of living only for today in this country, yet he exudes a culture of true life – other worldly but rooted in this world. For this reason he is an example and challenge to us all.”
“For ministering to his Baghdad flock in the most difficult circumstances, despite his own personal challenges. The man is a true Christian hero. Prophet, saint, humble servant, courageous in the face of persecution and evil, generous and forgiving. I can think of no greater living English man, Christian or otherwise.”
“Actions speak louder than words and the Vicar of Baghdad’s actions shout much louder than any sermon. He has shown exceptional courage and devotion to both God and his flock. He had to overcome his own personal health problems to fulfil his duties, but has not flinched from his purpose even though he is constantly surrounded by death and personal danger.”
“His work in reconciliation between faiths in the Middle East. His heroism in working in the church in Iraq, and his love of the people there.”
“The love of Jesus that shines out of him. His life is a challenge and an inspiration.”
“For his relentless pursuit for justice and recognition of the persecution his Christians in the Middle East. For the unwavering loyalty to his church in Iraq. For his humility, character, honesty, tenacity, bravery and self sacrifice.”
“For the authority that comes from a man who has walked the walk.”
“For the unwavering loyalty to his church in Iraq.”
“I’m inspired to be more Christ-like due to his example.”
“For his work for relief and reconciliation in the Middle East.”
“For his unbelievable work in Iraq, where he continues to let Christ’s light shine.”
“He’s got to be number one for all his amazing courage and faith in God especially in the face of such adversity.”
“For being a true Christian believer, caring for others and giving hope and inspiration to many others.”
“A true servant of Christ seeking peace and reconciliation while ministering to his flock under the most appalling circumstances imaginable.”
“Despite health problems and all the horror visited upon his people he not only carries on undaunted but still prays for his enemies. Even for the salvation of ISIS. I cannot think of anyone more like the Lord Jesus.”
“He is the finest example of the love of Christ in action.”
“For a brave and faithful ministry in the most extreme of circumstances.”
“For staying to shepherd his flock and thereby putting his life in extreme danger, he offers a witness to the reconciling power of the Gospel with grace, humility and incredible courage.”
“He models a relationship with Muslims and the Islamic world that has to face Christian crusading and Muslim persecution and does so without ceding either Christian witness or loving care to others.”
“We have had people’s heads chopped off. We are having people convert. We are even having children slaughtered and cut in half,” he told Newsnight in August. “We are living in worst crisis I have ever known,” he wrote on Facebook. “Working day and night to meet the needs of those who have nothing. We are providing a huge amount.. we are all very tired, but our Lord is sustaining us.”
God bless Canon Andrew White and the congregation of St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq. Give thanks for his Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, which provides a spiritual home, medical care and humanitarian relief as well as promoting reconciliation amongst different religious groups. And bless all of you who nominated him, pray for him and support his crucial ministry.
The other 99 winners are presented below. The spiritual variety and theological breadth of nominees reflects the ecclesial catholicity of this blog’s readership. The winners’ placement in any missional/ministry ranking must ultimately be left to the perfect judgment of God, for we cannot know hearts or judge motives. In the meantime, they are ordered by the cosmic lottery of patronymic designation, for the second shall be 98th and the 78th fourth.
It must be stressed (again) that the following people are recognised and honoured not because they are in any sense greater in the Kingdom of God or more loved by Jesus (cf Jn 13:23), but because they have somehow distinguished themselves over the past year in their ministry, mission or Christian witness. The #CranmerList2014 does not constitute a lofty religio-political endorsement, but rather demotic appreciation of the scale and (often unseen and unknown) impact of their labours in the Vineyard of the Lord.
If your considered worthies are not named, it may because you didn’t nominate them. If you are irked that you yourself do not feature, meditate on Luke 15:25ff. If you are relieved that you have not been honoured, you have the luxury of being free to righteously condemn the whole concept over the coming days, and thereby move yourself into the frame for a nomination in 2015.
The 99 British Christians who came second (or 99th) to Canon Andrew White are:
Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP. Shadow Foreign Secretary. Nominated for being “one of the few Labour MPs openly raising issue of persecution of Christians in Middle East in public”. His most recent intervention in the Sunday Telegraph pledged Labour to the appointment of a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, which was tweeted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Lord (David) Alton. Crossbench Life Peer. Nominated for: “his interventions on the issues of modern slavery and the plight of Syrian refugees”; “a faith-based commitment to humanitarian aid”; “bold opposition to Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill to highlight the pressures it would place on the most vulnerable and championing the work of hospices”.
Eddie Arthur. Most recently executive director of Wycliffe Bible Translators who, since his retirement last year has toured churches to highlight the priority of mission. Nominated for: “his excellent missiological blog Kouyanet“; “He makes me think about the relevance of Jesus to modern culture. His reflections and insights never cease to inspire”.
Rt Rev’d Nick Baines. Bishop of Leeds. Appointed the first Bishop of West Yorkshire and the Dales – the Church’s first new diocese since 1927. His blog, Musings of a Restless Bishop, is a must-read. Nominated for: “leading the call for the Government to open offer sanctuary to the persecuted Christians of Iraq”; “challenging Cameron on his ‘incoherent’ Middle East policy”.
Vicky Beeching. Singer, songwriter, theologian and religious commentator. Nominated for: “being an inspiration to many and putting honesty and integrity ahead of her career”; “her tremendous bravery”; “She has boldly spoken of God’s love and salvation for those within the LGBT community who have been previously been rejected and turned away by the Church”.
Baroness (Elizabeth) Berridge. Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief. Nominated for: “her crucial work in promoting religious freedom and justice”; “Liz Berridge has kept persecuted Christians in Iran and Iraq and across the Middle East at the forefront of Parliament’s conscience”.
Matt Bird. Co-Founder of The Cinnamon Network, which has been commended by successive prime ministers. Nominated for: “mobilising Christian social action charities to partner with churches to grow and multiply their impact across the nation”; “(being) on target to engage a million beneficiaries”; “..serving many churches and communities – Matt Bird is Jesus centred”.
Fr Ray Blake. Roman Catholic priest in Brighton. Nominated for: “his faithful witness, an excellent blog, and social actions”; “his true love and devotion of our faith”; “All round saint and blogger”; “A truly wise man reaching out via his blog to all, proclaiming truths that many have forgotten”; “He always puts others in need first and his homilies are excellent”.
Paul Blakey MBE. Author and founder of Halifax Street Angels. Nominated for: “the work of Street Angels in Halifax and the Christian Nightlife Initiatives (CNI) Network as a way of supporting church and community in other towns to launch night-time initiatives”; “Paul inspires others to love the person in front of them and to see communities transformed”.
Colin Bloom. CEO of the Conservative Christian Fellowship and Director of Christians in Politics. Nominated for: “his work in bridging the Christian world with politics”; “burning the Tory flame and being unashamed to ‘do God’ where God isn’t usually done”; “reminding me every day that the Bible tells us to honour and respect and pray for those in Government”.
Rev’d Kate Bottley. Vicar of the churches of Blyth, Scrooby and Ranskill in the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. She appears in the Channel 4 TV series Gogglebox. Nominated for: “telling the truth about Songs of Praise – that it’s ‘like a piece of soggy quiche‘”; being “a tireless Anglican priest and one of the few Christians who keeps it real and authentic online”.
Fiona Bruce MP. Conservative MP for Congleton. Nominated for: “her tireless defence of the unborn”; “..presenting the Abortion (Sex-Selection) Ten Minute Rule Bill to Parliament on behalf of a number of MPs from all sides of the House, to outlaw abortion on the grounds of gender”; “(the) Stop Gendercide campaign to enshrine equality in the womb”.
Gavin Calver. National Director of Youth for Christ. Nominated for: “his work with over 250,000 young people a month in schools, prisons and churches”; “his ‘Pressing On’ conference, which inspired me to persevere through problems and keep my eyes on Jesus”; “an incredible and determined passion to see the Gospel reach young people all across this country”.
Dr Jonathan Chaplin. Director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics. Nominated for: “beavering away on the intersection between Christian theology and politics.. making us consider the biblical principles of political policy and what political parties stand for”; “He’s already preparing the analytical spiritual ground for the 2015 General Election..”.
Rev’d Prof Mark Chapman. In 2014 became Acting Principal of Ripon College Cuddesdon. Nominated for “help(ing) educate 100s of Anglican priests, and, in his characteristically understated and kindly manner remains a significant influence on the Church of England without chasing for preferment”; “(his) influence is huge – he’s trained just about every female priest in the CofE”.
Rt Rev’d and Rt Hon Richard Chartres KCVO. Bishop of London. Nominated for: “his passion for the job and his wonderful sermons”; “London churches seeing growth this year again partly due to his vision”; “supporting and showcasing a number of successful Holy Trinity Brompton church plants and successful church partnerships at Focus 2014“.
Steve Clifford. Leader of the Evangelical Alliance. Nominated for: “his unwavering respect for the authority of the Bible”; “his prayerful reflection and integrity in the EA’s decision to suspend the membership of Oasis Trust“; “upholding Christian orthodoxy against the liberals and revisionists who produce ‘a god’ in their own likeness”; “Steve is a leader of leaders..”.
Rev’d Richard Coles. Host of BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live programme. Nominated for: “sticking faithfully to his view without ever stooping to belittle his opponents; indeed, he honours them”; being “the atheist’s favourite vicar – he crosses so many lines that it’s impossible to categorise him, but he makes non-believers think about the eternal and transcendent”.
Martha Collison. 18-year-old Great British Bake Off star-turned-campaigner against child trafficking, as a representative for Tearfund’s No Child Taken campaign. Nominated for: “being very open and honest about her faith following all of the media interest she received from GBBO and using the attention to highlight the serious issue of modern slavery”.
Rev’d Paul Cowley MBE. Founder of Caring for Ex-Offenders. Appointed MBE in April 2014. Nominated for: “continuing to be very influential in Christian Prison Ministry”; “(being) a living witnesses to the power of faith to transform the mind and renew the heart”; “setting up Alpha Course in prisons – I think more than 80% of prisons now run the course thanks to Paul’s vision”.
Baroness (Caroline) Cox. Crossbench Life Peer and founder of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust. Nominated for: “her work on behalf of the oppressed in Burma and many other parts of the world”; “International high-level ministry of Christian witness and compassion to those in need, often in appalling situations, backed by a strong prayer life and deep interest in people”.
Rev’d Andy Croft. Associate Director of Soul Survivor and one of the pastors at Soul Survivor Watford. He studied Theology at Cambridge University and heads up ‘Soul 61’, the Soul Survivor course for emerging leaders. Nominated for: “inspiring young minds through his work with Soul Survivor, his charity work with Soul Action, and for doing this at a young age”.
Pastor Pete Cunningham. Founder of Green Pastures – a national Christian social enterprise which provides homes for the homeless and those in most need. Nominated for: “selfless service for God and the most Christ-like person I’ve ever met.. His understanding of asylum and migration are biblical and compassionate”.
Deacon Nick Donnelly. Founder of the Protect the Pope blog. In March 2014, he was encouraged by his Bishop (Michael Campbell of Lancaster) to undertake a voluntary period of mandatory reflection, during which time the Lord would direct him to cease protecting the Pope. Nominated for: “impeccably discerning the will of the Lord”.
Rt Rev’d Dr Gregor Duncan. Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway. Some Christians are thrust into the limelight by tragic events. The appalling accident in Glasgow a few days before Christmas in which six people died was met with compassion by Bishop Gregor, who was asked by the emergency services to “stand and pray“. (Co-nominated with Bishop Philip Tartaglia).
Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Nominated for: “his profound moral mission to get the jobless into work to restore people’s self-respect”; “ending injustices in the welfare system to make work pay”; “supporting families and strengthening marriage against the tide of fashionable secularist liberal criticism”.
Gemma Dunning. Founder of StreetSpace Bournemouth – an inclusive youth project that seeks to enhance the personal, social and spiritual development of young people. Nominated for: “her amazing work with young LGBT people in Bournemouth and more recently both nationally and internationally. She is down to earth, passionate about Jesus and bring light into dark places”.
Rev’d Giles Fraser. Vicar of St Mary’s, Newington. He writes ‘Loose Canon‘ for The Guardian and regularly contributes to BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and Moral Maze. Nominated for being “provocative, incisive and profoundly thoughtful about God”; “..he feeds the sick and houses the homeless – you might not agree with his words, but you can’t fault his actions’.
Rt Hon Frank Field MP. Co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty in Britain. Nominated for: “(being) Chairman of the King James Bible Trust”; “his faith-based writing in the Tablet and work with ‘Theos’“; “A very influential Socialist whose faith guides his politics”; “..a great supporter of Christians in Parliament“.
Peter Grant. Co-founder (with Mandy Marshall [also nominated]) of Restored – an international Christian alliance committed to ending violence against women. Nominated for: “working with the Church of England General Synod in 2014 to end Gender Based Violence”; “(being) people of faith who speak out”; “They model good leadership and integrity”.
Debra Green OBE. Founder of Redeeming Our Comunities – a Christian Charity that establishes multi-agency partnerships to reduce crime. Nominated for: “..her new book ROC your World; transforming communities for good, (River Publishing, 2014)”; “She lives what she writes and keeps her faith at the centre of all she does. The work of ROC has expanded rapidly in 2014″.
Mark Greene. Director of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. Nominated for: “..pioneering and communicating a life-giving theology.. Mark has through programmes like ‘Imagine‘ begun to make churches take ‘whole life discipleship’ seriously. DVD Resources like ‘Fruitfulness on the Frontline‘ are now being used by many churches”.
Pete Greig. Founder of 24-7 Prayer – an international, interdenominational movement of prayer, mission and justice. Also Director of Prayer for Alpha International. Nominated for: “His passion for the Lord. His great sermons. He has certainly taught me how to pray”; “Pete has inspired thousands to get praying seriously and believe that prayer can change nations”.
Simon Guillebaud. Author, speaker and founder of Great Lakes Outreach. Nominated for: “Risk(ing) his life daily by living in the second-poorest, 10th most dangerous nation.. help(ing) local Burundians and get the gospel to them. Over past eight years he has seen 100,000 people in Burundi turn to Christ – that’s 1% of the population”.
Rev’d Nicky Gumbel. Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton and pioneer of the Alpha Course. Nominated for: “The indirect influence he has been through his work for Alpha”; “He just gets on with the job and his calling and he influences millions around the world for the Gospel”; “Probably more direct western conversions than anyone I know – a matter of using his influence for good”.
Colin Hart. Director of The Christian Institute. Nominated for: “Standing up for Christian values and freedoms in the public arena.. lobbying and taking legal cases”; “huge success with Reform Clause 1“; “defending Ashers Bakery against equality zealots”; “warning about and fighting against Government-imposed ‘British values‘”.
Andy Hawthorne OBE. Founder and CEO of the The Message Trust – a worldwide movement with a passion to share Jesus Christ with the hardest-to-reach young people. Nominated for: “doing great things in Manchester communities”; “The Message Tribe in Manchester continue to be terrific missionaries. Deserves recognition”; “Here I am, Send Me (The Message Trust, 2014)”.
Rev’d Dr Keith Hebden. Vicar in the Deanery of Mansfield; author of the Compassionistas blog and Seeking Justice – The Radical Compassion of Jesus (Circle Books, 2013). Nominated for: “Undertaking 40-day fast to raise awareness of food poverty.. a Christ-like concern for the poor”; “Significant success in raising the issue of poverty and foodbanks in the media“.
Rev’d Sally Hitchiner. Coordinating Anglican Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser at Brunel University. Founder of Diverse Church. Nominated for: “her clear, sensible, honest posting on social media makes our faith look normal and relevant, as well as a challenge”; “when accidentally outed she took it in her stride and shrugged it off, highlighting how irrelevant sexuality is”.
Rev’d Tim Hughes. Director of Worship Central – a movement which wants to see the worship of Jesus Christ made central throughout our communities. Nominated for: “Amazing spirit-and-scripture-fuelled songs which teach theology and help to enable our worship. And the huge influence of worship central in training up hundreds of young worship leaders”.
Agu Irukwu. Senior Pastor of Jesus House; founder of Mandate Men’s Ministries, dedicated to building men of integrity; leader of The Redeemed Christian Church of God – the fastest growing church in the UK. Nominated for “(being) an inspirational minister willing to work with different streams in the Church of Jesus Christ”.
Dr Austen Ivereigh. Author, journalist, commentator and co-founder of Catholic Voices. Nominated for: “continu(ing) the fight against same-sex marriage in the popular media”; “his probing and absorbing biography of Pope Francis – The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope (Henry Holt, 2014)”.
Rev’d Canon J John. Evangelist, minister, speaker, social activist and writer. Nominated for: “(being) still one of the most influential evangelists in the UK”; “reminding me of the brilliance of CS Lewis, who powerfully and eloquently defended Christianity“; “(being) an inspirational storyteller and a faithful ambassador for Jesus”.
Dr Krish Kandiah. Founder of Home for Good – a charity to help inspire the Church to engage in foster care and adoption. In 2014 he was appointed President of the London School of Theology. Nominated for: “(being) a popular evangelist both through local churches and at universities.. a key figure in holding together tensions between ‘conservative’ and ‘open’ evangelicalism”.
John Kirkby. Founder and International Director of Christians Against Poverty. Nominated for: “impact(ing) the lives of the poor in the UK like no other Christian. He is an example to us all of what it means to follow God’s heart”; “John doesn’t take a penny of state subsidy – he is therefore free to be open about the fact that CAP is a Christian organisation and works with clients from all backgrounds and faiths to spread God’s love”.
Rev’d Libby Lane. Vicar of St Peter’s Hale and St Elizabeth’s Ashley, in the Diocese of Chester. Recently announced as the first female bishop (designate for Stockport) in the Church of England. Nominated for: “overcoming centuries of canon law that says only men can be leaders of the Church of England.. a stunning and wonderful first for 2014″.
Rt Rev’d James Langstaff. Bishop of Rochester. Nominated for: “Chairing the steering committee to deliver women bishops legislation that general synod accepted”; “championing the work done in prisons and speaking up in Parliament on issues of housing and social deprivation”; “being one of the nicest, most humble bishops one may care to speak to”.
Susie Leafe. Director of Reform (the first woman to hold the post). Nominated for: “giv(ing) a new lease of life to the ReNew conference in conjunction with the Church Society and Anglican Mission in England”; “giving proper shape to conservative evangelical Anglicans”; “a fearless advocate for Christian orthodoxy, particularly in the debate about women bishops”.
Prof John Lennox. Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University; Pastoral Advisor at Green Templeton College and Adjunct Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall. Nominated for: “another year of forthright defence of the Christian Faith against the New Atheism”; “his world-wide ministry of Bible teaching, speaking and debating on the complementarity of science and faith”; “his charming, humble and affable manner when confronting Richard Dawkins”.
Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith. Priest in the Parish of St Hugh of Lincoln; blogger and journalist for Catholic Herald. Nominated for: “his wit and wisdom in all things Catholic”; “honestly, if you want to find the holes in episcopal expressions of Catholic theology or the chinks of light in the Holy Father’s public position, just plug in to his Twitter feed”.
Peter Lynas. Director of the Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland. Nominated for: “engag(ing) with issues of Christianity in the public square in the media. His leadership.. over controversial issues has been incredibly helpful to many believers. His personal blog publictheology.net, as well as his work on Christians engaging in culture, has given Christians the confidence and language to engage in meaningful conversation around difficult topics”.
Dr Nathalie MacDermott. “A faithful servant of God who works for the Samaritan’s Purse relief agency. She went to Liberia to establish Ebola Care Centres at great personal risk.” “Nathalie is an inspiration to all who seek to serve God in the midst of immense suffering.” “Her compassion for the sick and dying radiates the love of Christ.”
John Marsh. Author of The Liberal Delusion – The Roots of our Current Moral Crisis, and a trustee of Contemplative Fire. Nominated for: “his voluntary work in prisons with the Prison Fellowship”; “his book The Liberal Delusion.. that we urgently need to reappraise liberalism, and separate out the positive, such as the commitment to greater equality and social justice, from the negative – excessive freedom and loss of morality”.
Mandy Marshall. Co-founder (with Peter Grant [also nominated]) of Restored – an international Christian alliance committed to ending violence against women. Nominated for: “working with the Church of England General Synod in 2014 to end Gender Based Violence”; “(being) people of faith who speak out”; “They model good leadership and integrity”.
Chine Mbubaegbu. First black woman to be appointed a director at the Evangelical Alliance (and at the age of 30!). Nominated for: “continuing to provide a strong voice for women in the church through her writing”; “her leadership at the Threads website has produced a place where young adults can feel at home exploring issues of faith and asking difficult questions”.
Prof Alister McGrath. Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University. Nominated for: “another year of excellent ripostes to Dawkins”; “his defences of Christianity against the onslaught of atheism and secularism are particularly noteworthy. Among his numerous books, I would like to highlight his introductory texts to theology and spirituality”.
Charles Moore. Authorised biographer of Margaret Thatcher; journalist for The Spectator and The Daily Telegraph. Nominated for: “(His) moral certitude is refreshing and goes far beyond party politics. He doesn’t dither and tells it like it is”; “It might have something to do with his being a devout Christian, but I find Charles Moore the most lucid of political thinkers”.
Lord (Maurice) Morrow MLA. DUP Life Peer. Nominated for: “Bringing forward a Private Members Bill to improve the legislation in Northern Ireland with regard to human trafficking and exploitation.. His Christian faith played a central role in his motivation.. His work on this will not win him many votes, but it illustrates his care and concern for the vulnerable.”
Hannah Mudge. Co-founder of the Christian Feminist Network, writer and blogger at We Mixed Our Drinks. Nominated for: “doing great work bridging the Christian and feminist gap. Her writing is clear and honest. She brings articulate argument to issues often ignored by the church, but also challenges the feminist world to take faith seriously”.
Rt Rev’d Dr Michael Nazir-Ali. President of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue. Nominated for: “(being) one of the few Anglican Bishops in recent times who has steadfastly supported the gospel”; “one of the few people not afraid to point out the problems of Islamic extremism in the UK”; “The best conservative bishop we no longer have”.
His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Archbishop of Westminster. Admitted to the Sacred College of Cardinals at the 2014 General Consistory. Nominated for: “telling Cameron that his government welfare reforms had destroyed the basic safety net for the poor”; “highlighting the rise in poverty and the plight of the poor – even if it’s not with much charisma or nous”.
Amy Orr-Ewing. Influential apologist. Director of Programmes at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and UK Director for RZIM Zacharias Trust. On the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Evangelism Task Group. Nominated for: “increasing recognition as a passionate exponent of a rational Christian response to many cultural issues we face in society”.
The Rev’d Dr Ian Paisley, the Rt Hon The Lord Bannside. Nominated because: “He died, and thereby reminded the world of a lifetime of service to the Gospel of Christ”; “He was a politician in three parliaments but always had a servant’s heart”; “He was a faithful preacher and a distinguished leader. He spoke plainly and was never misunderstood – in his politics or faith”; “His funeral bore testimony to reconciliation and loving your enemies”.
Rev’d Dr Ian Paul. Theologian, speaker and influential blogger at Psephizo. Honorary Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham. Nominated for: “(being) currently No 1 in Top Blogs (Religion & Belief)“; “clear academic, theological thinking that provokes the church and provides pastoral theology to build up and equip the church”; “Well-mannered and gracious”.
Fr Richard Peers SCP. Headmaster of Trinity Church of England Secondary School, Lewisham; an Anglican priest and a member of the Society of Catholic Priests. Nominated for: “making school a place where children and adults can flourish within a strong Christian community”; “his insights into the fraught intersection between faith, values and education; “Teaching with integrity ‘as a subversive activity'”.
Catherine Pepinster. Editor of The Tablet; journalist at the Guardian and Independent. In 2014 celebrated 10 years of editing The Tablet, often against bitter criticism from some of her more traditionalist co-religionists. Nominated for: “(being) thoughtful and considerate about the complexities of Catholicism and how the Faith relates to the modern world”.
Very Rev’d Prof Martyn Percy. In 2014 appointed Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. Nominated for: “voicing his concerns about the Green Report, which proposes a more corporate style training for selected clergy”; “confronting head-on (and doing himself no favours) the un-biblical model of church leadership and distinctly un-Anglican centralisation of power”.
Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Nominated for: “sending in Commissioners to clean up Tower Hamlets“; “celebrat(ing) the importance of Bonfire Night“; “marked Europe Day by celebrating the liberation of Jersey from the Nazis”; “He understands that the foundation of our freedoms is religious liberty”.
Rev’d Mike Pilavachi. Co-founder and leader of the Soul Survivor charity which attracts over 30,000 young people to its summer festivals. Senior Pastor of the Soul Survivor Church Watford. Nominated for: “continuing to influence thousands of young people every year bringing many to Christ and encouraging them to live fully committed Spirit-filled lives”.
Canon David Porter. Director of Reconciliation at Lambeth Palace. Worked for months behind the scenes in the Church of England to broker new relationships between the factions divided over women bishops. Nominated for: “his wise guidance during the run-up to the women bishops legislation surely ensured that it was passed with minimal animosity and division”.
Her Majesty The Queen. Nominated for: “preserving the political harmony of the United Kingdom against the divisive forces of separation”; “Her Christmas Day message shares the Christian gospel with millions and demonstrates her strong Christian faith. Perhaps the most important ‘evangelistic’ message over the entire Christmas period”; “Her selfless service to her people. Her committed faith radiates peace and grace”.
Rend Collective. A Northern Irish Christian worship band, comprising Gareth and Ali Gilkeson, Chris Llewellyn, Patrick Thompson and Steve Mitchell (who are recognised individually, so constituting five of the Top 100). Their album ‘The Art of Celebration’ was released on 14 March and shot to a No1 chart slot. Their music has influenced worship in many churches.
Canon Dr Angus Ritchie. Executive Director at the Centre for Theology and Community. Nominated for: “Deserves it for Welby”s Credit Champions work. Pioneering churches’ engagement in their communities. The catalyst behind churches’ involvement in living wage campaigns, community organising, interfaith initiatives and youth leadership initiatives”.
Rev’d David Robertson. Minister of St Peter’s Free Church of Scotland and author of The Wee Flea blog. Nominated for: “highlighting the flaws in secular lobbying groups.. (H)e has spoken boldly and with a clear and compassionate Christian heart for the good of Scotland’s children. His blog.. was runner-up at the Premier Christian Radio New Media awards in London”.
Rev’d Chris Russell. Custodian of the community of Jesus Christ at St Laurence, Reading. Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advisor on Evangelism & Witness tasked with ensuring that evangelism remains central to the Archbishop’s ministry. Nominated for: “a great and unerring desire to see this nation turn to Christ. His passion to place young people at the heart of the church is to be commended”.
Mark Russell. Chief Executive of the Church Army, leading a society of over 300 full-time evangelists and an advocate for evangelism in the wider church. In 2014 ne was Christian tweeter of the year. Nominated for: “(being) passionately committed to mission and spreading the good news of Jesus without compromise. Mark’s zeal is inspiring and infectious!”
Dr Peter Saunders. CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship and author of the Christian Medical Comment blog. Nominated for: “being a key campaigner in the fight to keep euthanasia and assisted suicide out of the UK. He is one of a bunch of British Christians who has put himself on the line and ‘out there’ about many of the issues that these days the Christian viewpoint is scorned and ridiculed”; “his Christian witness is one of the most impressive”.
Alan Scott. Leader of Causeway Coast Vineyard, Northern Ireland, which has also pioneered the Healing on the Streets movement. During 2014 the church has seen over 2,000 people become Christians in their town of Coleraine. Nominated for: “Leading a visionary, Spirit-filled church which is having a huge impact by living out their faith on their local streets, blessing their community”.
Rev’d Helen Shannon. Neighbourhood Pastor at St Barnabas Church, London; leader of Church@Five. Set up a church plant that now gets 50+ adults and kids most Sundays.. And a foodbank on Saturday.. As a result of the Holy Spirit’s work and His use of Helen, lives have been changed.. Adults are now doing paid and unpaid work and kids are attending college rather than bunking off!”
Nick Spencer. Research Director and currently Acting Director of the Christian think tank, Theos. Author of Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). Nominated for: “The brains behind much of the excellent and articulate work that Theos carries out in the political sphere researching and presenting the state of the public face of Christianity in the UK”.
Francis Spufford. Author, apologist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Nominated for: “having written, in Unapologetic, the most accessible, humane and convincing articulation of the case for Christianity that one could hope to read”; “(he) is fearless against the tide of New Atheism, taking it on with honesty, passion and humour”.
Dr Tim Stanley. Historian, blogger and columnist for the Daily Telegraph. Nominated for: “being unapologetic in his espousal of orthodox Christian values in a national publication. Tim regularly promotes the dignity of the unborn and elderly and is a fantastic measured articulate journalist, able to communicate his love of Christ in a manner that is compelling and winsome”.
Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. These Premier League footballers who both play for Liverpool were proposed as a pair (and conveniently have consecutive surnames). Nominated for: “(being) footballers who are unashamed about their faith”; “Daniel Sturridge publicly acknowledged Jesus at World Cup when he scored, as he does every time for his club”.
Most Rev’d Dr Philip Tartaglia. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow. Some Christians are thrust into the limelight by tragic events. The appalling accident in Glasgow a few days before Christmas in which six people died was met with compassion by Bishop Philip, who “cried with the bereaved family“. (Co-nominated with Bishop Gregor Duncan).
Mervyn Thomas. Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Nominated for “standing up for religious freedom (and) for persecuted Christians”; “He has tirelessly sought to positively influence policy makers, ambassadors, politicians and governments to strengthen justice and fairness for all persecucted minorities”.
Stephen Timms MP. Labour Party faith envoy and Chair of Christians on the Left. Chaired the 2014 Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast. Nominated for: “Being a strong Christian voice in the Labour party”; “heavily involved in drawing together Christians across political boundaries and being a great advocate for Christian social action projects in Parliament”.
Phil Togwell. Heads up Prayer Spaces in Schools – an organisation that runs creative prayer rooms in primary and secondary schools. 418 schools ran a prayer space in 2014. Nominated for: “leading a movement that is allowing children and teachers of all backgrounds to see that Christianity is vibrant and relevant and to reflect on questions of life and spirituality”.
Rev’d Dr Graham Tomlin. Dean of St Mellitus College – a learning community dedicated to helping Christians study theology and explore their faith more deeply, with a focus on missional leadership. Nominated for: “inspirational and influential leadership in shaping ordained ministry in the CofE”; “quality training many in pioneering Christian ministry”.
HRH Charles, Prince of Wales. Nominated for: “drawing attention to the persecuted Church“; “I’ve reassessed my opinion of the Prince of Wales.. he speaks with compassion and wisdom”; “It is good the Prince of Wales is continuing to speak up for persecuted Christians especially the appallingly persecuted Christian community in the M East”; “Islamism – he gets it“.
Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner. Bishop of Chichester. Nominated for: “devot(ing) himself wholeheartedly to putting new heart into his Diocese”; “given calm and considered leadership to orthodox Anglicans at a difficult time”; “In less than three years as Bishop he has visited every deanery.. interviewed every licensed cleric and.. inspired the laity in their mission”.
The Most Rev’d and Rt Hon Justin Welby. Archbishop of Canterbury. Nominated for: “being a Church leader who leads from the front, putting prayer and community first”; “the way he is changing the picture people have of the church”; “challenging the Wonga money lenders and cleansing the temple of hypocrisy”; “his clear focus on reconciliation and bold communication”.
Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe. Author, humanitarian and political commentator. Nominated for: “championing Eucharistic compassion for divorced Catholics”; “(being) one of the most honest and trustworthy politicians around and who is not afraid to speak about the influence of her faith”; “Her speech in support of traditional marriage.. is the best political speech of the decade”.
Andrea Minichiello Williams. CEO of Christian Concern. Nominated for: “present(ing) the Christian faith with clarity and sincerity.. She represents Christians who suffer discrimination and harassment because of their faith”; “tirelessly and articulately promoting the biblical point of view in the midst of societal and political change”; “Doing a great work for the Lord & our fallen nation”.
Rt Rev’d and Rt Hon Dr Rowan (Lord) Williams. Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Nominated for: “(being) a thoughtful and intelligent Christian in public life”; “as an academic he is respected internationally”; “A visible symbol of Christianity as being both thoughtful and intelligent in a media and culture that likes to pigeonhole us as the opposite”.
Sr Catherine Wybourne. Benedictine nun (aka @Digitalnun) who blogs at iBenedictines. Nominated for: “her centred, prayerful presence on the web and her quiet example of how to offer spiritual comfort to the afflicted”; “(being) a holy and godly presence in social media”; “Her blog is succinct and always worth reading. It explains Christian principle and practice in a plainly accessible fashion. Her witness is important and valuable”.