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Media awards for South Sudanese bishop’s testimony and Church of England digital impact

Posted on: October 19, 2018 11:42 AM

A moving interview with Bishop Daniel Deng Abot, the Bishop of Duk in South Sudan, has won a major broadcasting award in London. It came in the same week that the Church of England won five awards for its digital impact. The interview was carried out by Mike Wooldridge for the BBC World Service Heart and Soul series. Bishop Daniel was one of southern Sudan’s “Lost Boys”. After 15 years in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, he resettled in Australia with his wife Rachel and served as a priest in Queensland. But, after South Sudan gained independence, he felt called to return to his native homeland where he serves as bishop.

His story was featured in Focus, the magazine of the Diocese of Queensland, and republished by the Anglican Communion News Service. Kristine Pommert, Head of Radio for the Christian-based independent production company CTVC, read the article and followed it up for the feature-length BBC interview, The Right Thing: Bringing Peace in South Sudan.

This week, judges at the Jerusalem Awards described the programme as being “brilliantly honest about what the cost of discipleship can truly be. An extraordinary story, well told.”

Accepting the award, Mike Wooldridge said: “I know it is not conventional for winners to say anything from the stage at the Jerusalem Awards. But I just wanted to say that – had there been an opportunity – I would dedicate our award to Bishop Daniel, his wife Rachel and their family and to the people of South Sudan.”

Elsewhere, the Church of England were winners of five National Digital Impact awards, including the title “In-house Digital Team of the Year”. They also won the Best App and Best Use of Social Media categories for its #LiveLent campaign; and Best Website for its main site. Its innovative Alexa skill was recognised as the “Best use of digital”.

The awards were organised by Communicate, a British trade magazine for people working in corporate communications. They said that the award for In-House Team of the Year – a category nominated and decided by the judges themselves – was in recognition of the C of E’s “efforts over the past few years in building a digital function where once there was none.” They added: “The church is now digitally savvy and explores new technologies – like Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant – with ease.”

Magazine editor Brittany Golob added: “This year’s Digital Impact Awards did not disappoint in terms of creativity. Each of the winners exhibited a willingness to go beyond simply employing digital strategies with efficacy. Instead, they approached digital communications with a sense of inventiveness and imaginativeness. They pushed the boundaries of what has been achieved in corporate digital communications thus far.”

Other shortlisted organisations included the retail chains Argos and Debenhams, the film studios Warner Brothers, the Nationwide financial institution, and health charity the British Heart Foundation.