Congratulations to Hannah, who won the inaugural Theology Slam with her plea for the Church to learn how to mourn the damage caused by climate change. You can listen to Hannah's presentation on the Church Times podcast.
“Working with 10 year olds has definitely made me a better theologian!”
Hannah Malcolm has a degree and masters in theology, and is used to interpreting complex ethical and scientific ideas for a young audience in her role as Coordinator of the God and the Big Bang project. She organises workshops for schools where young people are challenged to think for themselves and to discover, discuss and debate the compatibility of science and faith.
Hannah’s next challenge is tough too. She is one of three finalists in the Theology Slam competition that takes place on 7 March. Theology Slam, endorsed by Archbishop Justin Welby, is looking for young people who can communicate effectively about God in the modern world.
Hannah has chosen for her presentation, Theology and the Environment, which stems from her passion for exploring how people live in relationship with God and the natural world. “Everything is connected”, she says “I prefer to use the term ‘our common home’ rather than ‘the environment’. I will be exploring how people feel ‘homesick’ when their world is in danger, and the feelings of grief and anxiety that result from experiencing natural disasters, and seeing the effects of pollution, wildfires and species becoming extinct.”
Hannah’s concern for the environment led her to become a vegetarian. Five years ago she was eating meat twice a day, but now she is almost vegan because of the impact that meat production has on climate change.
As for what her future holds, Hannah is uncertain. “I am trying to be patient and discern God’s call for me. At the moment I’m not sure what form that will take, but I believe we are here to worship God and to serve. I’m very encouraged by how many young people are coming forward to be ordained and to serve in lay ministries. I’m hopeful for the future of the Church, but I’m sure it will look quite different in 20 years’ time.”