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CTS partnered with the Indiana Writers Center (IWC) to host a poetry contest on the theme, “How to Love a City,” open to published and non-published poets, from July 1-August 1, 2021. The winners are: first place, Jenny Froehle; second place, Gaye McKenney; and third place, Jodie English.

Along with a cash prize, first place winner Froehle will present her poem at the installation of CTS’s seventh president, David M. Mellott, PhD, on September 19, 2021. Her poem will also be featured in a special publication of CTS’s academic journal, Encounter: A Journal of Theological Scholarship.

Froehle is an Indiana writer and educator who has been active in the Indianapolis community and worked in schools for thirty years. She has published poetry and professional articles and is currently finishing her first novel.

Froehle’s winning poem is entitled “How to Love a City” and is based on Jeremiah 29:7, which matches the theme and Bible verse of the presidential installation. Her poem reflects on the breadth and depth of Indianapolis, its history, and its residents, and it calls on all of us to join in making the city a place of love, hope, and healing.

Frohle shared that “The name of this contest—’How to Love a City’—captured my imagination and just wouldn’t let go; lines kept floating in and out of my head for days, so that I finally had to put my other writing down and just work on this poem. For a month, I wrote phrases and stanzas, many of which I cut, shaping the message. I wanted the poem to convey a sense of urgency, a call to action grounded in love and the ability to see God in one another.”

Second place poet McKenney’s poem, “Her Avenues into Downtown,” is based on Hebrews 11:9-10 and personifies Indianapolis as a woman finding her place, reckoning with her past, and finding hope in the life and faith of her people. English’s third place poem, “Our Circle City,” celebrates the diversity of Indianapolis and looks toward the promise of an ever more inclusive and just city.

A longtime supporter of the arts, CTS is grateful for its collaboration with the IWC and the work of Executive Director Rachel Sahaidachny, and to the many poets who contributed their voices to the contest.