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Nissar Hussain leads Top 100 UK Christians 2015

 

The awards for the Top 100 UK Christians 2015 were announced, word spread and admonition radiated (just as it it did last year). #CranmerList2015 was explained (again), word spread (further), nominations trickled in, and speculation grew. The waiting is now over.

It was a very tight competition this year. It ultimately came down to single-digit differences between three principal contenders, any one of whom would have been worthy of the ‘most inspirational’ epithet, or however you want to interpret ‘Top 100 UK Christians’. But, by popular democratic consensus, you have chosen Mr Nissar Hussain as your No1 UK Christian for 2015, and many congratulations to him on being so affirmed in his faith and encouraged in his witness by so many readers of this blog.

At the risk of repeating last year’s ripostes to critics, one doubts that Nissar Hussain (or, indeed, his entire family) is under any illusion as to whether he is first in the kingdom of heaven or last in the city of Bradford (or vice versa). As last year’s winner Canon Andrew White bore witness, it is perfectly possible to receive democratically-bestowed appreciation and ministerial affirmation with grace and humility. It means that you have touched lives: people are thinking about you, praying for you, caring enough about your work, witness and ministry to nominate you. Their appreciation really doesn’t have to go to your head: it’s just a chance for news of your good works to spread.

Since his conversion from Islam to Christianity in 1996, Nissar Hussain, with his wife Kubra and their six children, have been driven from their home and subject to years of harassment, bullying, intimidation, criminal damage and violence at the hands of the jihadi vigilantes of Bradford. He has even been threatened with beheading (..in 21st-century England..), and below is how he looked just a few weeks ago after being battered with a pickaxe by those same professing disciples of Mohammed whose apprehension of the Religion of Peace is seemingly antithetical to religious freedom and somewhat at variance with the values of liberal democracy:

Nissar Hussain attack 3

The citations accompanying Nissar Hussain’s nomination were consistent and effusive. Here are just a few:

“For remaining steadfast in his Christian faith in the face of persecution to the point of attempted murder.”

“For bringing to us all the issues that Muslim converts experience on a daily basis here in the UK from within their cultural communities.”

“For openly sharing his conversion to Christianity and his love of Christ despite persecution and threats to his life.”

“He is overcoming extreme persecution for his beliefs.. Despite facing violent hostility, apparent indifference from the authorities and tactful silence from the Church of England, Mr Hussain and his family have made the brave decision to become Christians.”

“He remains faithful to Christ through fierce persecution.. He is an inspiration to fellow Christians and shames our masters..”

“He is overcoming extreme persecution for his beliefs..”

“For openly sharing his conversion to Christianity and his love of Christ despite persecution and threats to his life.”

To be chosen as the No1 UK Christian for 2015 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 manifestly bestowed in appreciation of Nissar Hussain’s faithfulness and bold witness in the face of suffering and persecution.

Top 100 Christians 2015The other 99 winners are presented below. The spiritual variety and theological breadth of nominees reflects, once again, the ecclesial catholicity and theological breadth 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 (ie alphabetically), for children tend to be first in the kingdom of God (Mt 18): of the adults, 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 heaven or more loved by Jesus (cf Jn 13:23), but because they are considered to have distinguished themselves somehow over the past year in their ministry, mission or Christian witness. The #CranmerList2015 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 nomination in 2016.

The 99 British Christians who came second (or 99th) to Nissar Hussain are:

Arun AroraRev’d Arun Arora. Director of Communications for the Church of England. Nominated for “reaching his zenith” with the #JustPray Lord’s Prayer cinema campaign, which received more than a million views following its ‘ban’ (and ensuing media furore). It was all “skillfully managed with aplomb”; “Never has prayer been such a talking point in the secular media..”

Dave BagleyDavid Bagley. Founder of Urban Outreach (Bolton), working with troubled young people, the homeless and prostitutes. His mission is to relieve poverty by unashamedly advancing the Christian religion. He was nominated for and won the 2015 Inspire Award (in association with the Evangelical Alliance), for his “superb and.. unsung work” over the past 25 years.

Mark BaileyMark Bailey. Lead Pastor of Trinity Cheltenham who last year became leader of the nationwide New Wine Network of churches, which seek the spiritual renewal of the Church. Stories abound of the global reach of his ministry. The New Wine annual summer festival attracts in excess of 30,000. Nominated for: “inspirational leadership”; “his striking and thought-provoking teaching”.

Nick Baines7Rt Rev’d Nick Baines. Since becoming the first Bishop of Leeds for the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales, in addition to leading 656 churches he continues to write one of the most thought-provoking blogs, Musings of a Restless Bishop, and remains at the forefront of appeals for the persecuted Church. Nominated for: “challenging the BBC on religious literacy”.

Steve Baker MPSteve Baker MP. Conservative MP for Wycombe, and founder of the Cobden Centre,”for honest money and social progress”. In 2015 he co-founded Conservatives for Britain, a campaign group which is now leading calls for the UK to leave the EU. Nominated for: “his Christian vision, political conviction, integrity, honesty and sincerity”.

Alan BarnesAlan Barnes. Disabled pensioner who received a huge amount of public support after being mugged and left injured in January. He publicly forgave his attacker. Later he announced he would be moving to the Shetland Islands answering “a call from God.. to inspire others to become Christians”. Nominated for: “his resolute commitment to trusting in God”.

Matt BirdMatt Bird. Co-Founder of The Cinnamon Network, which has been commended by successive prime ministers. Nominated for: “inspired leadership”; “providing churches with ample resources to start and sustain a wide range of social action projects”. In 2015 he initiated the first Cinnamon Faith Action Audit, assessing the scale of churches’ community work, which was valued at £3bn.

Tony BlairTony Blair. Named in 2010 by The Tablet as “one of Britain’s most influential Roman Catholics” (and on their 2015 list). Nominated for: “establishing the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics”, dedicated to understanding religious ideology and extremism; “producing the excellent ‘Inside the Jihadi Mind‘, which analyses the propaganda of three leading jihadi groups”.

Paul BlakeyPaul Blakey MBE. Founder of Halifax Street Angels and the Christian Nightlife Initiatives. Throughout 2015 he has helped several new projects set up in the UK and overseas. Nominated for: “a passion to equip and resource the church to work within the night-time economy”; “believes that we should be the ones making the news not just watching the news”. 

donal blaney 2aDonal Blaney. Director of Griffin Law, he is considered one of the most influential Conservatives working behind the scenes, in particular with the Young Britons Foundation. Nominated for: “establishing the Margaret Thatcher Centre, which announced its educational partnership with Buckingham University to perpetuate her values and beliefs”.

Colin BloomColin Bloom. Formerly CEO of the Conservative Christian Fellowship and Director of Christians in Politics. Nominated for: “challenging the party and the Government to do more on controversial issues of interest to Christians including tax credits, refugees, and aid, as well as offering pastoral and spiritual support to politicians”. After the election he was appointed to a new role as the head of outreach for the entire Conservative Party.

Justin BrierleyJustin Brierley. Senior editor of Christianity Magazine and presenter of  Premier Radio’s Unbelievable, which brings together high-profile guests to debate apologetics and current affairs. Winner of best Short Form Radio at this year’s Jerusalem Awards. Nominated for: “promoting serious apologetics, whilst still aiming to make it a subject accessible to a wide audience”.

Rev Ian BrownRev’d Ian Brown. Appointed rector of the parish church of Chalfont St Giles in 2014, he has clearly made a swift impact. Nominated for: “spearheading many community initiatives” (“..after 800 years the church is getting a loo”); “being a very helpful and friendly spiritual guide”; “he is hands-on and has done a good job enlisting many members of the community into various panels, committees and as volunteers for other activities”.

Fiona Bruce2Fiona Bruce MP. Conservative MP for Congleton. Nominated for: “her continuing tireless defence of the unborn”, in particular her work in 2015 on the Stop Gendercide campaign to outlaw sex-selective abortion. Her efforts in Parliament were instrumental in the defeat of the Assisted Dying Bill, which she described as “legally and ethically totally unacceptable”.

Conor Burns MPConor Burns MP. Conservative MP for Bournemouth. “I will tell the truth as I see it,” he said last year, and he dished it out to “unseemly” politicians and “naive” bishops alike. He co-founded the Margaret Thatcher Centre with Donal Blaney. Nominated for: “being an excellent constituency MP”; “a man of deep principle and conviction who cares about democracy and parliamentary sovereignty”.

David Burrowes MPDavid Burrowes MP. Conservative MP for Enfield Southgate. He contributed greatly to the development of the Conservative Party’s social justice policy, and has spent 2015 speaking out with great clarity about homelessness, poverty, Assisted Dying, and sanctuary for refugees. Nominated for: “his work in promoting and defending Christian values in Parliament”.

Bishop Paul ButlerRt Rev’d Paul Butler. Bishop of Durham since 2014, and co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Parents and Families. He speaks for the Bishops on safeguarding, child protection and matters of historical sex abuse. Nominated for: “shouldering probably the most unpleasant bit of episcopal responsibility going, and for doing it so remarkably sensibly, sensitively, and articulately”.

Mark ChapmanRev’d Prof Mark Chapman. Vice Principal of Ripon College Cuddesdon and Professor of the History of Modern Theology at Oxford. He has mentored 100s of ordinands and cares passionately about the interrelation between politics and Christianity. Nominated for: “being elected to General Synod”; “an important voice.. in debating reforms on theological education and renewal”.

Richard ChapmanRichard Chapman. The Church of England’s Secretary for Parliamentary Affairs, heading the Parliamentary Unit which supports the 26 bishops sitting in the House of Lords. Worked beyond the call of duty to help defeat the Assisted Dying Bill in September. Nominated for: “diligently working and networking to ensure the Church of England’s representatives work effectively in Parliament”.

Baroness CoxBaroness (Caroline) Cox. Crossbench Life Peer and founder of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust. Commended as “one of the most highly regarded parliamentarians in the Lords”. Nominated for: “her compassion for the oppressed and suffering all over the world”; “introducing the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill to outlaw sex discrimination in UK sharia ‘courts’“.

Stephen Crabb MPStephen Crabb MP. Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, and Secretary of State for Wales. He is a member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship whose faith drives and informs his politics. He delivered this year’s Wilberforce Address, challenging both secularism and extremism, and calling on all Christian MPs in all parties to be more outspoken about their faith.

Bishop Steven CroftRt Rev’d Dr Steven Croft. Bishop of Sheffield and recent winner of the ‘Most Inspiring Leadership Blog’ at the Premier Digital Awards. As member of the Archbishops’ Council he is currently pushing through mission-focused reform in the Church of England. Nominated for: “inspirational vision, prayerful commitment to the poor and passion for spiritual growth”.

Fr Andrew DavisRev’d Prebendary Andrew Davis. Vicar of Christ the Saviour, Ealing. Nominated for being “a quiet saintly man”; “His barn of a church is well attended by a broad cross section of this multi-cultural community, testimony in itself to the faithful outreach he has committed himself to. This is characterised not by charismatic razzmatazz but faithful constancy. Fr Andrew leads a church which is a beacon. He is a warm, wise witness to Christ.”

Tim FarronTim Farron MP. Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party who has had a challenging year since his party was (more than) decimated in the General Election. He has been pilloried and baited by the media for his Christian faith, from which he derives his social-liberal convictions. Nominated for: “making it to leader of his party *despite* all the unjust and harsh criticism of his faith”.

Frank Field 3Rt Hon Frank Field MP. Labour MP for Birkenhead. Regularly speaks out and writes about matters relating to poverty, hunger, employment and immigration, with a raft of Private Members Bills in pursuit of the common good. Nominated for: “common sense proposals in the House of Commons usually based on Christian values”.

Father Tim FiniganFr Tim Finigan. Parish Priest at St Austin and St Gregory, Margate; author of the Hermeneutic of Continuity blog. Nominated for: “wading through media distortion of the Church”; “he challenges the narrative of a Church in schism, beset by crisis and scandal, and points to coherence where the guardians of ‘orthodoxy’ see only heresy”.

Andy FlannaganAndy Flannagan. Singer-songwriter, Director of Christians on the Left and and co-Director of Christians in Politics. Published Those who show up prior to the General Election, encouraging Christians to become involved in politics at all levels. Nominated for: “passionately setting out the case for Christians to change the nation through the political arena”.

Giles Fraser3Rev’d Dr 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 “annoying as hell but he draws me back to the fundamentals”; “Songs of Praise from Calais“; “his ‘Road to Damascus’ realisation that the UK must leave the EU“.

Tyson FuryTyson Fury. Heavyweight boxing champion of the world and nominee for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year. He made a few comments about gender and sexuality which upset a few people (and for which he apologised). This ‘hate crime‘ gave him a platform to preach. As Premier Christianity observed: “Tyson Fury is a working class Christian man and we should celebrate him.”

Lee GatissRev’d Dr Lee Gatiss. Director of the Church Society, author-theologian and Church historian. An influential scholar in the Evangelical-Reformed tradition. Nominated because “he understands the meaning of the true profession of the gospel“; he loves the Anglican Church, preach(es) the gospel and is a very funny man”.

Paula GooderDr Paula Gooder. Writer and lecturer in Biblical Studies. With a string of glowing testimonials, there’s no doubt that she is respected as a scholar and gifted communicator. Nominated for “great writing of theology for a non-specialist audience. Consistently accessible books and with good sense of humour! Great example of someone who opens up academic theology to all”.

Paul GoodmanPaul Goodman. Executive Editor of ConservativeHome, he brings his considerable real-world experience to Conservative political commentary. A fierce defender of religious freedom and parliamentary democracy, he is insightful on matters Islamic and Christian. Nominated for “needling Tory ethics and probing political morality, without ever imposing his ego”.

Michael Gove MPMichael Gove MP. Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. He is “proud to be Christian” observing that “to call yourself a Christian in contemporary Britain is to invite pity, condescension or cool dismissal”. His recent interview of the Archbishop of Canterbury was widely praised. Nominated for his “moral conviction”; “he speaks with the insight of a philosopher and the moral authority of an Old Testament prophet”.

Maureen GreavesMaureen Greaves. Church Army evangelist and outreach worker who received the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the community of North Sheffield. She has continued to talk about forgiveness following her husband’s high-profile murder in 2012. Nominated for: “following in Jesus’ footsteps and blessing many others in the process”.

Bear GryllsBear Grylls. Adventurer, writer and television presenter who made the headlines this year when he prayed for President Obama during the making of a special documentary. Longstanding advocate of the Alpha course. Nominated for: “his willingness to discuss how he constantly draws strength from his faith”; “being a Christian role model to many men”.

Simon GuillebaudSimon Guillebaud. Author, speaker and founder of Great Lakes Outreach. Missionary in Burundi who remains committed to serving Jesus there despite the risks associated with the current unrest and violence. Nominated for: “faithfulness in his mission to Burundi, challenging author and yet a blokes’ bloke. More leaders like him would be greatly appreciated”.

Very Rev John HallVery Rev’d Dr John Hall. Dean of Westminster, accountable only to God and the Queen (if not always in that order). It is a difficult task putting faith at the heart of the nation, but the quality of sermons preached at Westminster Abbey highlight the innate liturgical life of England, perpetually bringing us back to consider who Jesus was and is. Nominated for: “often walking Erastian tightropes with humility and grace”.

Isabel HardmanIsabel Hardman. Journalist and blogger; editor of The Spectator Coffee House blog. She writes a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph and appears on the Andrew Marr Show. Named ‘Journalist of the Year‘ by the Political Studies Association. Nominated for “breadth of writing and depth of analysis”; “often writes from a Christian perspective with great insight”.

Colin HartColin Hart. Director of The Christian Institute for the furtherance and promotion of the Christian religion. Nominated for “championing free speech and freedom of religion“, especially in the high-profile case of the Ashers Bakery; their consistent warnings over the unintended consequences of Extremism Disruption Orders; and the anti-Christian agenda of Ofsted.

Andy HawthorneAndy 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. Launched several new Eden projects based in deprived communities. Nominated for: “continuing to pioneer youth mission in the UK”; “an inspiring speaker and evangelist”.

Rev Stephen HeardRev’d Stephen Heard. Assistant Priest at St Mark’s Church, Enfield, and author of the fragrant Unheard Melodies blog. Nominated for being “an unassuming priest but quite brilliant at composing nuggets of reflection, often from a conservative perspective”; “one of the few Church of England vicars to put his head above the parapet and prod the bishops to consider the moral case for conservatism”.

Peter HitchensPeter Hitchens. Journalist, author and blogger for the Mail on Sunday. Prominent Anglican and no friend of political correctness, social liberals or cultural Marxists (or the current Conservative Party). Nominated for being “a staunch advocate for the Christian faith in the media”; “highlighting the Church of England’s shameful betrayal of bishop George Bell“.

Gerald Howarth MPSir Gerald Howarth MP. Conservative MP for Aldershot. One of the few Christians in Parliament who knows a thing or two about defence and contributes wisely to foreign policy debates. He is honoured by local charities and delivers sermons proclaiming his faith. Nominated for being “a strong advocate for persecuted church. Repeatedly raised subject in parliament this year”.

Tim HughesRev’d Tim Hughes. Director of Worship Central – a movement that wants to see churches empowered through the worship of Jesus Christ. Moved to Birmingham earlier this year to start a £1 million ‘arts’ church aiming to attract disaffected youth. Nominated for: “his heart for worship and mission continues to inspire thousands of young Christians”.

Rev Les IsaacRev’d Les Isaac OBE. Co-founder of Street Pastors movement and CEO of Ascension Trust. Now working to create stronger connections between the church, media and political arenas. Nominated for: “consistently promoting the gospel”; “he is a humble, teachable, Godly visionary, and has watched Street Pastors grow to almost 300 projects with 14,000 trained volunteers from across church denominations”.

Krish KandiahDr Krish Kandiah. Founder of Home for Good – a charity that aims to inspire the Church to engage in foster care and adoption. His appeal in the summer for foster carers to look after unaccompanied refugee children received over 10,000 responses. Nominated for: “his overt Christian faith”; “his effective work promoting adoption in the media”.

Rev David KeenRev’d David Keen. Associate Vicar at St James’ Church, Yeovil. Longstanding blogger (‘Opinionated Vicar‘) whose contribution to the national voice of the Church of England is consistent and profound. Nominated because “he has a spiritual and discerning perspective on everything”; “he never gets the recognition he deserves.. Does much to promote mission in the CofE”.

Rev Cindy KentRev’d Cindy Kent. From The Settlers to lay reader, deacon and now priest (and radio presenter), Cindy Kent has led an extraordinary life. Soon to retire after five years as ‘House for Duty’ (ie unpaid) Priest-in-Charge of St John the Apostle Church in Whetstone where she doubled the electoral roll, brought in children, young families and men, totally bucking the national trend.

Bishop Graham KingsRt Rev’d Dr Graham Kings. Former Bishop of Sherborne who became Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion in July. The post was created by the Archbishop of Canterbury in partnership with the Church Mission Society and Durham University to promote the work of Anglican theologians around the world. Nominated for: “his wisdom and missiological insight”.

Bishop Libby LaneRt Rev’d Libby Lane. Became the Church of England’s first ever woman bishop in January. Features in the Telegraph‘s Top 50 Britons of the Year 2015. She has used her position to highlight the evil of human trafficking. Nominated for: “carrying the weight of church history on her shoulders with both enthusiasm and decorum”.

Sister Rita LeeSr Rita Lee. Runs the Lalley Centre in Collyhurst, Manchester, which provides a foodbank and other services to local residents. Featured in a recent five-part BBC1 documentary during which she persuaded Iain Duncan Smith to trial placing a Job Centre adviser at her foodbank. Nominated for: “a great witness”; “displaying bags of compassion through a no-nonsense approach to her work”.

Peter LynasPeter Lynas. Director of the Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland, former barrister and blogger. Vocal supporter of Asher’s Bakery during the ‘gay cake‘ court case. Nominated for: “his active engagement with some difficult and challenging political and legal issues in Northern Ireland this year”; “presenting clear Christian thinking in the public arena”.

Sir james MacMillanSir James MacMillan CBE. Composer and conductor, named by the Catholic Herald as ‘Catholic of the Year’, he is a musician with a mission to revive musical liturgy in the Roman Catholic Church. His faith penetrates his art. Nominated for: “being a defender of orthodoxy against the forces of secularism and multiculuralism”; “an ambassador for Catholic culture whose music radiates Christ”.

I Howard MarshallI. Howard Marshall. Eminent scholar of the New Testament and prolific author, well known to theology undergrads for many decades. He died on 12th December, and tributes have been effusive for the man as well as his ministry. Nominated for: “his Luke-Acts commentary was the first real theology I read – he taught me that biblical scholarship is no threat to faith”.

Ruth MawhinneyRuth Mawhinney. Took over in 2014 as editor in of the online news and opinion website Christian Today. Nominated for: “drawing together an impressive collection of journalists and commentators during the last year”; “her vision has given Christian Today an increased reputation as a credible online voice beyond just Christian circles”.

Theresa May MPTheresa May MP. Conservative MP for Maidenhead and Home Secretary. She openly acknowledges her strong Christian faith. She was architect of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which has put the UK at the forefront of the fight against slavery and human trafficking. Nominated for: “ensuring the UK plays its part in defeating the global slavery epidemic”.

Tim MontgomerieTim Montgomerie. Co-founder of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, currently reporting for The Times on the forthcoming US Presidential Election. Nominated for: “being a leading light in Conservative thinking, helping raise the profile of Compassionate Conservatism with a relentless energy”; “often speaking up for the Christian faith through his Times articles”.

charlesmoore2Charles Moore. Authorised biographer of Margaret Thatcher, whose Volume II – Everything She Wants – was published this year. He is also a journalist for The Spectator and The Daily Telegraph. Nominated for: “his witness to the Christian faith is consistent and certain”; “he is a political theologian and prophetic philosopher.. always graciously provocative”.

Michael Nazir AliRt Rev’d Dr Michael Nazir-Ali. President of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue. He is regularly quoted in the media defending Christian values and freedom of expression and belief. Nominated for: “speaking up for persecuted Christians”; “speaking sense into the refugee crisis caused by Islamic State”.

Bishop Philip NorthRt Rev’d Philip North. Bishop of Burnley. At his consecration, the laying on of hands was restricted to bishops “who share his theological conviction regarding the ordination of women”. Nominated for: “his unwavering Christian witness.. He has brought a new energy to the Diocese of Blackburn..  deeply dedicated to mutual flourishing”.

Elizabeth OldfieldElizabeth Oldfield. Director of the Christian think-tank, Theos, which has produced important reports and research during the year. She regularly makes appearances in the media including Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. Nominated for: “her role as the public face of Theos, which continues to make valuable contributions to debates that few other Christian organisations cover”.

Mike OverdMike Overd. Street preacher, convicted of a public order offence for preaching the ‘wrong bit’ of the Bible. The case attracted a lot of media attention. His conviction was overturned on appeal. Nominated for: “his dogged faithfulness to the gospel truth and his dedication to freedom of speech and freedom of religion”.

David OyelowoDavid Oyelowo. Actor. Starred as Dr Martin Luther King in Selma, a role he believed God called him to play. Regularly discusses his Christian faith in media interviews. Nominated for: “being a shining example of a Christian who has not compromised his faith while working in the challenging environment of the film industry”.

Ian PaulRev’d Dr Ian Paul. Theologian, speaker and influential blogger at Psephizo. Honorary Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham. Nominated for: “becoming increasingly recognised as a leading evangelical voice in the Church of England”; “his courageous but gracious stand on the church’s orthodox teaching on sexuality”.

Lisa PearceLisa Pearce. Chief Executive of Open Doors which in 2015 celebrated 60 years of serving persecuted Christians with a visit from David Cameron. She is regularly involved in advocacy work in Parliament. Nominated for: “leading an organisation that is highly respected both here and abroad for its continued practical work supporting the persecuted church”.

Martyn PercyVery Rev’d Prof Martyn Percy. Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. Notable for his persistent needling of bishops and archbishops. Nominated for: “his insights into the nature of Anglicanism and its mission to society”; “challenging institutional discrimination in the Church of England”; “his Glimpses of the Divine lecture, which (was) fascinating”.

Mike PilavachiRev’d Mike Pilavachi. Co-founder and leader of the Soul Survivor charity which attracts over 25,000 young people to its summer festivals, of which 1,360 became new Christians this year. Nominated for: “inspiring thousands of young people to devote their lives to following Jesus”; “being a great role model to the rest of the church showing the importance of investing in young people and allowing them to develop their giftings”.

Canon David PorterCanon David Porter. Director of Reconciliation at Lambeth Palace. He has the unenviable job of overseeing the Church of England’s shared conversations, and advising on healing divisions in the Anglican Communion. Nominated for: “his work on women bishops in the CofE and commitment to reconciliation”; “seeking peace and unity with humility in testing circumstances”.

Queen6Her Majesty The Queen. In 2015, she became England’s and the UK’s longest-reigning monarch. Next year, she will celebrate her 90th birthday (DV), the first reigning monarch to reach that decade. Nominated for: “her dignity, grace, tenacity, and devotion to service”; “her faith radiates in every encounter”; “being the best evangelist in the whole Church of England”.

Bishop Alastair RedfernRt Rev’d Dr Alastair Redfern. Bishop of Derby. One of the most hard-working and diligent bishops in Parliament. Known for his work on night shelters for the homeless and tireless efforts for many other charities. Nominated for: “his work in crafting the Modern Slavery Bill and aiding its passage through Parliament”.

Rend CollectiveRend Collective. The UK’s biggest Christian worship band, comprising Gareth and Ali Gilkeson, Chris Llewellyn, Patrick Thompson and Steve Mitchell. Their album ‘As Family We Go’ was released on 21 August and reached No19 in the UK and 33 in the US official album charts. Nominated for: “once again producing an album that celebrates God’s goodness and is a joy to listen to”.

Alastair RobertsAlastair Roberts. PhD student at Durham University who writes on biblical theology and Christian ethics for a number of websites, including his own Alastair’s Adversaria blog. Nominated for: “smart and insightful Christian blogging. He has excellent thoughts on biblical theology, Christian ethics, and gender issues”.

David RobertsonRev’d David Robertson. Minister of St Peter’s Free Church of Scotland, Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, Director of Solas CPC and author of The Wee Flea blog. Nominated for: “his consistent positive advocacy of Christian values and thoughtful (sometimes witty) debunking of the forces of atheistic  liberalism”; “engaging politely but forcefully with atheism and scepticism”.

Gareth Lizzy RobinsonGareth and Lizzy Robinson. Leaders of Glo Church and the Glo Central project in Offerton, Stockport. Won this year’s Christian Funders’ Forum award for ‘Best Project Advancing the Christian Faith’. Nominated for: “incredible commitment to their local community”; “inspiring their church to put the gospel into practice by serving those around them”.

Ben RogersBen Rogers. East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Often briefs government ministers, EU, US and UN officials on human rights and freedom of religion. Nominated for: “tireless advocacy for persecuted Christians (and minorities) around the world, particularly in Burma. Brought attention to the need for religious freedom well before it was mainstream”.

Simon SarmientoSimon Sarmiento. Co-author of the widely read Thinking Anglicans blog, which is a much valued resource, gathering news and comment on the church in the UK with a particular focus on the liberal wing of the Church of England. Nominated for: “his ongoing dedication to keeping Christians around the world informed through the power of the internet”.

Anne ScarfeAnne Scarfe. 88 year-old Street Pastor in Plymouth who is a previous ITV Pride of Britain Local Hero award winner. Nominated for: “her amazing compassion and servant heart”; “a wonderful lady who has brought kindness and hope to so many. A very resilient character who seemed so surprised at the media attention she has received (and awards)”.

Glen ScrivenerRev’d Glen Scrivener. Church of England minister and evangelist who uses social media and produces a range of videos to promote the Christian message. Winner of Best Digitial Media at this year’s Jerusalem Awards. Nominated for: “great spoken word videos that are imaginative, humorous and also effectively promote the gospel”.

Emma ScrivenerEmma Scrivener. Author, speaker and blogger who regularly writes about eating disorders, brokenness and healing. She is married to Glen Scrivener (above). Nominated for: “writing a fantastic blog and doing lots of ministry to young women in particular, given her past with anorexia, and also a great recent interview on Songs of Praise“.

Most Rev John SentamuMost Rev’d Dr John Sentamu. Archbishop of York, with a year-long stream of media appearances/articles which make him one of the most high-profile and popular clerics in the country. Nominated for: “his book On Rock or Sand was exactly the sort of intervention the Church of England should be making into the national debate about our Christian foundations”.

Tim StanleyDr Tim Stanley. Historian, blogger and columnist for the Daily Telegraph. He writes on American culture and appears regularly on television. Nominated for: “consistently contending for Christian values, especially in defence of the unborn, and highlighting the hypocrisy of the liberal-left in the battle for free speech in our universities”.

John StevensJohn Stevens. Church planter and first ever national director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. Advocate for Christian engagement in public life. Nominated for: “his commitment to furthering the gospel and mission lived out by example”; “encouraging FIEC churches to embrace a wider vision for the evangelisation of our country”.

Geraldine Stockford 2Geraldine Stockford. Described as ‘Clergy wife’ in Christian Today, she is clearly much more. She asked Marks & Spencer to send flowers with a message from her church – Christ Church, Teddington – only to find that ‘Christ’ was a banned word (‘jihad’ and ‘Allah’ were permitted). Nominated for: “forcing Marks and Spencer to change their anti-Christian policy of banning Jesus”.

Rev Dominic StockfordRev’d Dominic Stockford. Chairman of the Protestant Truth Society and minister at Christ Church in Teddington, Middlesex. Married to Geraldine (above), and nominated for: “the support of, as well as regular preaching of, the true Gospel of salvation in Christ alone, both in his congregation and elsewhere throughout the world”.

Elaine StorkeyDr Elaine Storkey. Writer, broadcaster, speaker and theologian. Published Scars Across Humanity which examines the role the church plays in combating gender-based violence against women. Nominated for: “being a key voice and advocate and continuing to raise awareness of the problem of violence against women”; “her wisdom delivered with grace and compassion”.

Rev Jody StowellRev’d Jody Stowell. Vicar of St Michael and All Angels’, Harrow Weald, broadcaster and feminist. Increasingly prominent in the media discussing the role of women in the church along with other issues. Nominated for: “her edifying media presence”; “raising the profile of women in the church through her intelligent interaction with the media”.

Miriam SwaffieldMiriam Swaffield. Student worker for Fusion, and blogger who has spent the last two years on a road trip visiting 69 universities encouraging and training students and local churches to catch a vision for student mission. Nominated for: “(being) a passionate and inspiring communicator”; “her infectious enthusiasm for reaching university students with the gospel”.

Terry TennensTerry Tennens. CEO of International Justice Mission UK, a Christian human rights organisation that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation and slavery around the world. It has had notable successes this year and assisted the Government with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Nominated for: “his unwavering dedication to pursuit of justice”.

Mervyn ThomasMervyn Thomas. Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Nominated for “his positive influence working with politicians in this country and beyond ensuring that they are well informed and take the responsibility of  defending freedom of religion and belief seriously”; “drawing attention to the plight of Christians facing unjust persecution around the world”.

Bishop Rachel TreweekRt Rev’d Rachel Treweek. Consecrated Bishop of Gloucester in June and made history by becoming the first female bishop to join the Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords. Placed sixth on the Telegraph‘s ‘Briton of the Year 2015’ list. Nominated for: “accepting her new position with dignity and humility”; “building bridges between those with differing views of women bishops”.

Vincent UzomahVincent Uzomah. Teacher at Dixons Kings Academy in Bradford who was stabbed by a student in a racially motivated attack. He publicly forgave and prayed for his attacker following the trial. Nominated for: “following Jesus’ example of forgiving others despite an incredibly traumatic experience that detrimentally affected his life”.

Prince Charles2aHRH Charles, Prince of Wales. Nominated for: “confirming in unequivocal terms that he’ll be crowned ‘Defender of the Faith‘”; “his compassion and support for persecuted Christians in the Middle East“; “denouncing the radicalisation of young British Muslims and making it clear they must abide by our Christian values”.

Victoria WasteneyVictoria Wasteney. NHS occupational therapist who was  disciplined for harassment for giving a Muslim colleague a Christian book and inviting her to church. She has been granted permission to appeal the ruling. Nominated for: “standing up for Christ in the workplace”; “courageously defending the right of freedom of expression in her interviews with the media”.

Welby3The Most Rev’d and Rt Hon Justin Welby. Archbishop of Canterbury. Nominated for: “his continuing work to establish credit unions; the praying community he started at the Lambeth palace (St Anselm); his honesty in dealing with the failures of the church regarding sexual abuse“; “his integrity in word and deed”; “a breath of fresh air in the Anglican Church”.

Canon Andrew WhiteCanon Andrew White. The ‘Vicar of Baghdad‘ has gained respect internationally for his devotion to reconciliation and peace, facilitated through his Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East. Last year’s Top 100 winner, nominated for: “his humility and practical passion for the suffering church”; “tireless work in Iraq and the Middle East”; “radical peacemaking at its best”.

Andrea Minichiello WilliamsAndrea Minichiello Williams. CEO of Christian Concern and Christian Legal Centre. Nominated for: “her devoted defence of the Christian faith”; “..the encouragement and support she gives to those most at risk of sanctions for expressing their beliefs”; “she is not ashamed to speak up for Christ in the public domain, despite the verbal abuse it brings”.

Bishop Tom WrightRt Rev’d Dr Tom Wright. Former Bishop of Durham, better known as NT Wright, Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary’s College in the University of St Andrews. Nominated for: “standing up for biblical truth against the apostles of ‘progressive’ theology“; “finest writer on theology in England.”

Sr Catherine WybourneSr Catherine Wybourne. Benedictine nun (aka @Digitalnun) who blogs at iBenedictines. Nominated for: “her wisdom and devotion to her faith, which she shares with such grace and insight through her blog”; “Despite having been ill with cancer during this year she has continued to sacrificially devote herself to others through her prayers”.