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Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s royal wedding sermon lands UK religious broadcasting award

Posted on: May 16, 2019 4:45 PM
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preaches at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle - now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - at Windsor Castle in May last year.

The Presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, will receive the 2019 Sandford St Martin Trustees’ Award “in recognition of the huge media impact generated by his royal wedding sermon”. The Sandford St Martin Trust, which has been making awards since 1978, said that his 2018 sermon “helped to bring a better understanding of religious belief and its modern relevance to a new audience.” An estimated 1.9 billion people watched Bishop Curry deliver the sermon, in which he told the congregation of royals and celebrities that “love is the way”.

“One of the indisputable broadcasting highlights of the 2018 royal wedding was Bishop Curry’s sermon”, the Bishop of Repton, Jan MacFarlane, Chair of the Sandford St Martin Trust, said. “His inspirational words were broadcast to millions around the world and were instrumental in shining a spotlight on the central role faith plays in the wider social discourse, not least in the most significant moments of our lives.

“At the heart of his sermon, Bishop Curry spoke of love being the most important and powerful force for unity in the world – a message much needed when the social and political divisions in the UK and around the world are being so deeply felt.”

The Trustees Award recognises individuals, programmes or organisations which “have made outstanding contributions to their audience’s understanding of religion, ethics or spirituality”, the Trust said in a statement. Previous recipients include author, journalist and broadcaster Joan Bakewell, composer Sir John Tavener, journalist Lyse Doucet, and, broadcaster and historian Neil MacGregor.

The awards will be presented during a ceremony at Lambeth Palace on 13 June, when the full list of winners – including the Radio Times Readers’ Award which is voted for by members of the public – will be announced. Bishop Curry is unable to collect the Award in person and has prepared a video message which will be played to the audience.

“On behalf of all the Trust’s shortlisters I can tell you that this has been a particularly interesting year with a real range in both the themes or subject matter explored and the treatments used”, Sandford St Martin’s Executive Director, Anna McNamee, said. “We reviewed content concerning everything from guns, gangs and drill to new poetry inspired by the psalms to the legacy of The Troubles in the face of Brexit and assisted dying.

“Fortunately for us, some of these ‘tougher’ subjects were levied by sci-fi utopias, side-splitting humour and some truly brilliant cutting-edge dramas. To quote one of our shortlisters, ‘it was really tough this year. There was so much of such high quality and so many more than six programmes I wanted to see included on the shortlist.’”

The full 2019 Sandford St Martin Awards shortlist:

Broadcast Journalism Shortlist

  • Crossing Continents: Chile – Sexual Abuse, Secrets and Lies
    BBC Radio Current Affairs for Radio 4

  • File on 4: The Unorthodox Life of Miriam
    BBC Radio Current Affairs for Radio 4

  • Grenfell: Our Home
    Parable for Channel 4

  • Myanmar’s Killing Fields
    Evan Williams Productions with Mongoose Pictures for Channel 4/PBS

  • Syria: The World’s War
    BBC TV Current Affairs for BBC 2

  • The Dawn of British Jihad
    BBC Radio Current Affairs for Radio 4

Television/Video Shortlist

  • Civilisations
    Nutopia Ltd for BBC Two

  • Gangs, Drill & Prayer
    BBC for iPlayer / 1Xtra Youtube

  • Journey in the Danger Zone: Iraq (Episode 2)
    October Films Ltd for BBC Two

  • Louis Theroux: Altered States: Choosing Death
    BBC Studios: The Documentary Unit for BBC Two

  • My Dad, the Peace Deal, and Me
    Dragonfly Film and Television Productions for BBC One

  • We Are British Jews (Programme 2)
    Lion Television for BBC Two

Radio/Audio Shortlist

  • Documentary on One: In Shame, Love, In Shame
    Documentary on One for RTÉ Radio 1

  • Doorstep Daughter
    BBC Radio Current Affairs for Radio 4

  • FutureProofing: Faith
    BBC News/Radio Specials, BBC Political Programmes for Radio 4

  • Meeting the Man I Killed
    Loftus Media for Radio 4

  • Morality in the 21st Century
    BBC Religion & Ethics Radio for Radio 4

  • Sisters of the Troubles
    BBC Religion & Ethics for the World Service

  • The Silence of the Lamb (Lent Talks)
    BBC Religion for BBC Radio 4

Children’s Broadcasting Shortlist

  • EDEK
    Green Cave People for

  • My Life: Locked in Boy
    Sugar Films for CBBC

  • My Life: Mumbai Street Strikers
    Drummer TV for CBBC

  • My Life: Without a Home
    Hey Sonny Films (formerly markthree media) for CBBC

  • Setting Sail: 60 Years of Blue Peter / Poem by Tony Walsh
    Children’s Shortform Team for CBBC, CBBC YouTube Channel, Twitter, Facebook & iPlayer

  • What Do You Mean I Can’t Change the World?
    CTVC Ltd/TrueTube for

Radio Times Readers Award Shortlist

  • A Vicar’s Life
    BBC Studios, Pacific Quay Productions for BBC 2

  • Canvey: The Promised Island
    Spring Films for BBC 1

  • Chris Evans and the Reverend Ruth Scott
    BBC Radio 2/Virgin Radio

  • Heart and Soul: Faith in Freedom (Ingrid Betancourt)
    BBC World Service

  • My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me
    Dragonfly Film and Television Productions for BBC 1

  • Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago
    CTVC Ltd for BBC 1