Third year master of divinity student Hans Becklin has won the 2016 A.R. Wentz Prize in American Lutheran History presented by the Lutheran Historical Society of the Mid-Atlantic. His winning paper is titled, “Herbjørn Gausta’s Good Shepherd (1895) at First Lutheran Church, Decorah, Iowa: Printed American Visual Culture as Painted Norwegian-American Propaganda.” Becklin said that he is truly honored to receive the prize.
The panel of judges for the A.R. Went Prize praised Becklin’s paper for using the painting to present a “rather complicated development in Norwegian-American Lutheran history.”
Scott Chalmers, dean of students services and former director of admissions said, “I first met Hans on a recruiting trip to Luther College and one of our first conversations was about his interest in Norwegian-American Lutheran traditions. We are so pleased that he decided to earn his master of divinity at LSTC. We know what a blessing his ministry will be for the church.”
Becklin is a lifelong Lutheran who was raised with Norwegian Lutheran traditions in south-central Wisconsin. He developed an interest in history and research at an early age and majored in history at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. There he focused on the history of Lutheranism in America and on the history of art. He was able to do grant-funded research on First Lutheran Church in Decorah, the Norwegian Synod, and Herbjørn Gausta. Throughout seminary he has continued to explore church history. Becklin is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Church Council and is the council’s representative to the Moravian Church in North America. He and his wife, Marissa, live in Chicago and both are preparing for ordained ministry in the ELCA.
The A.R. Wentz Prize in American Lutheran History
Abdel Ross Wentz, for whom the award is named, was a leading figure in 20th century Lutheranism. From 1916-1956 he was a professor of Church History and later President of Gettysburg Theological Seminary. He was the first Vice-President of the Lutheran World Federation and the lead writer of its first constitution. The Wentz family established an endowment to provide prize money for the best historical paper on Lutheranism in North America. The prize can be awarded each year in two categories: 1) first degree seminarian and 2) M.A or PH.D graduate students. Paper topics should be historical papers on some aspect of Lutheranism in North America. Full details can be found on the society’s webpage. The prize is in the amount of $2,500. Read more about it on the Society web site: www.lutheranhistoricalsociety.com
R. Scott Chalmers
Dean of Student Services
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The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.