The winner of the United Church of Christ video contest, "My Faith, My World, My Voice" has been chosen by popular vote. Rashad Jackson, a member of Fellowship Chapel UCC in Detroit, Mich., is the winner of the $5,000 prize. His video, “Awake, Alive, Aware,” came out on top, collecting the largest number of the 4,500 votes cast, and the 25 year old plans to use his prize to continue filmmaking.
"I am a very dedicated and driven person, always pushing the envelope to the next level," said Jackson of his entry. "I just simply love what I do, looking through the camera lens is like peeking into another world. I crafted my skills at church serving in the A/V department; I would never be where I am now without my church, Fellowship United Church of Christ."
The UCC contest, which asked young adults ages 18-35 to visually answer the question, "How does my faith transform, connect, or touch the world?" generated more than two dozen entries, from which three finalists were selected. The finalist videos were posted on the ucc.org video contest website for a week of public voting that began Monday, Jan. 13 and ended late Sunday, Jan. 19.
Jackson works in the A/V ministry at Fellowship as a live audio/video engineer and recently started a video production company called SpaceMonkey Productions with friends Justin Ivory and David Brooks.
Sponsored by the United Church of Christ and its Stillspeaking Ministry, the "My Faith, My World, My Voice" contest winnings will give Jackson the opportunity to continue his craft, with plans to "use the prize money to invest in more equipment to continue exploring advanced filmmaking."
Twenty-four-year-old Adrian Brambila, a digital marketing strategist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and 32-year old Neil Ellington, a member-in-discernment at Judson Memorial Church UCC in New York who works at First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, Ill., were the other two contest finalists.
"My church family was my inspiration," Jackson said. "I have the privilege of seeing their talent and kindness on a regular basis. I wanted the opportunity to share that with the rest of the world."