“Great moment” for Fraser Prize winner James Thieke

As the deadline for Theology in Scotland’s 2019 Fraser essay competition approaches, we ask last year’s winner why he took part.

The Fraser Prize essay competition is organised by the journal, Theology in Scotland and the Scottish Church Theology Society “to affirm constructive, creative, theological thinking within the wider church in Scotland.” The prize was named after alumnus Rev Dr Ian Fraser.

As the 2018 prizewinner, James received £500 and his essay was published in Theology in Scotland.

His essay, The importance of participation for Christian children’s spiritual education, looked at the influence of consumerism on children’s development and spiritual growth

“Winning the Fraser Prize was a great moment for my first year of PhD studies.

James Thieke
PhD candidate, School of Divinity

James tells us,

“When the announcement of the essay competition was sent around by email last year, I was immediately interested. I had heard about the Prize before, so I thought that I would definitely try and get an essay in for it, assuming the topic was something on which I could write.

“As it happened, the topic was The Spiritual Nurture of Children. I had just been accepted to do a PhD at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, with a proposal on looking at children and theology, specifically engaging developmental psychology. So I felt it was a perfect opportunity, a prize that was literally about my PhD research.

“To challenge myself, I put ‘win the Fraser Essay Prize’ on my list of goals for the year, but I was still very surprised - and joyous - when I got the email that I had won!

“The email came just a couple days before Christmas, so it was a great present to celebrate with my family. It was truly an honour to go to Peebles and get the Prize presented to me by the Scottish Church Theology Society. It was also exciting to send my parents the link to the journal when it was published, as it was my first academic publication.

“I am excited to continue my PhD research on childhood developmental psychology and theology, and I hope the Fraser Prize shows that such research is important and timely.”

Other recent prizes won by our students

Science and Religion students have won a series of prizes in recent years.

  • James Thieke (First Prize, Fraser Award of Theology in Scotland 2018)
  • Nathan Bossoh (First Prize, Christians in Science student essay, 2018)
  • Joanna Leidenhag (ESSSAT student prize 2018)
  • Jaeho Jang (special notice in ESSSAT Research Prize 2018)
  • Sarah Lane Ritchie (ESSSAT Research Prize 2018)
  • Melanie McConnell (ESSSAT student prize 2016)
  • Sarah Lane Ritchie (ESSSAT student prize 2016)
  • Jaeho Jang (SRF (Science and Religion Forum) Peacocke Prize 2015)
  • Bill Atkins (special notice, SRF Peacocke Prize, 2015
  • Jenna Freudenberg (ESSSAT (European Society for the Study of Science and Theology) student prize 2014)

2019 Fraser essay competition deadline: 30 November 2019

The topic for this year’s Fraser Prize essay competition is The Borderlands of Philosophy and the deadline is 30 November 2019. Further details via the link below.


James Thieke, The importance of participation for Christian children’s spiritual education, Theology in Scotland, Vol 26 No 1 (2019)

Fraser Prize competition

School news story about ESSSAT prizewinners 2016

School news story about ESSSAT prizewinners

Rev Dr Ian Fraser