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Ten Commandments for the 21st Century competition

Posted on 14 July 2011

Congratulations to everyone who took part in this competition!


We are delighted to announce the winners:

  • Freddie Buchanan (5-8)
  • Ellie Parker (9-12)
  • Niamh Devlin (13-16).

They each win vouchers worth £50

The runners up in each category were: Luke Harbord (5-7); Olivia Butterworth (9-12) Thomas Hinton (13-16). They each win vouchers worth £20.

There were also several highly commended: Caitlin Addely, Dougie Buchanan, Emma Buckley,Clare Burgess, Katherine Deighton, Mary Fulford, Beth Jardine, Jake Murdoch and Josephine Osborne.

The judges really enjoyed reading all the entries and were very impressed by the ideas and the wonderful artwork.  A special thanks to schools who sent in entries including The Mount School, New Earswick Primary School, Scalby School, Selby High School, Prince Henry's Grammar School, Otley, Scarcroft School, Archbishop of York's Junior School and all the other schools who encouraged children to take part.

Ben Ward, RE Subject Leader of Scarcroft School, whose Year 5 & 6 children did their entries during RE lessons at school said: "They really enjoyed the opportunity to discuss the 10 Commandments in lesson and thinking about themselves and the world around them."

The purpose of the competition clearly struck a chord and gave children the opportunity to express their ideas about what ought to matter in society. Children used a range of media from ancient to modern including large collages, animated Powerpoint presentations, Blackberry, email screens, scrolls, hand-painted artwork and beautiful calligraphy. Niamh Devlin, the winner in the 13-16 age group, suggested that in the 21st century, the 10 commandments should be printed on banknotes to make them publicly visible to everyone! To see a selection of the entries (we received more than 250) see

There were many individual commandments which we particularly liked. These include

  • Media morality, by Dougie Buchanan: Don’t snog the wrong person and if you do, don’t try and cover it up with a super-injunction. It will never work and doesn’t help anyone (except the newspapers)
  • Parents, by Josephine Osborne: Honour your mum and dad by bringing them a cup of tea every morning
  • Fairness, by Caitlin Addey: The law has no exceptions. Abide it
  • Health, by Jake Murdoch: You should put as much money as possible into health research

Other memorable commandments included

  • Don't drink too much beer (Thomas Hinton)
  • Know that nothing can last forever, and that everything, including life, must come to an end (Mary Fulford)
  • Don’t work all the time. Take some time off to enjoy the world around you (Freddie Buchanan)
  • Always be committed to life (Emma Buckley)
  • Keep in contact with those you love (Olivia Butterworth).

In many cases there was as definite similarity in language and sentiment with the original Ten Commandments as they appear in the King James Bible, but there were also strong new themes concerning conservation, the safety and protection of children and equality of opportunity and access to resources.

The competition was generously supported by Blackwells of York and HMV York who supplied the prizes. Entries will be on display from Monday 18th July in the foyer of the Humanities Research Centre (open Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm) and on the Christianity and Culture website

Many thanks to our judges: Steve Hughes, Managing Editor of  The Press, York; Dr David Efird, Philosophy Department University of York; Revd. Jane Nattriss, Vicar of the City Centre Churches, York and Louise Hampson, Development Officer, The Centre for the Study of Christianity & Culture, University of York.