Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Lutheran pastor among three selected for Hawkinson’s 2008 Awards

Arvid “Bud” Dixen, Circle Pines, Minnesota, an ordained Lutheran pastor who
marched for civil rights with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., organized efforts
to support farmers during the farm crisis, and helped found the Nonviolent
Peaceforce, has been selected to receive the 2008 Honorary Award of The
Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace and Justice.

Also receiving the honorary award this year are historian and former Green
Party lieutenant governor candidate Rhoda Gilman of St. Paul, and her
daughter, Betsy Raasch-Gilman of St. Paul, a social activist, grassroots
organizer, and trainer in strategic nonviolence.

The honorary awards and Hawkinson scholarships are aimed at furthering the
work of the late Rev. Vincent L. Hawkinson, who served for 30 years as pastor
of Grace University Lutheran Church. The Foundation was established in 1988
in his honor.

Previous Hawkinson honorary award recipients have included Mulford Q.
Sibley, Polly Mann, Marianne Hamilton, Stanley and Martha Platt, Joel Mugge,
Arthur and Martha Sternberg, Eleanor Otterness, Louise Pardee, Larry Cloud
Morgan, Joseph Schwartzberg, Marv Davidov, Lynn Elling, Eleanor and John
Yackel, Brigid McDonald, Jane McDonald, Kate McDonald and Rita McDonald,
Donald Irish, Gene and Mary Lou Ott, Luther Granquist, Marie and John Braun,
Ralph and Kay Hilgendorf, and Lowell and Carol Erdahl.

The Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace and Justice will present the
2008 honorary awards and Hawkinson scholarships at its annual award
ceremony on Sunday, November 16, 4 p.m., at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church,
2730 East 31st Street, Minneapolis.

Bud Dixen, 78, has spoken out and acted against oppression throughout his
life. A graduate of Augsburg College, he served in the U.S. Army in Korea,
earning the Bronze Star. He then attended Luther Seminary and served
parishes in Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa from 1959 until his retirement in
1994.

At his first parish in Chicago, he was active in the civil rights movement. He
confronted “block busters” who were seeking to break up white
neighborhoods and sell houses to black people at inflated prices. In 1962, he
traveled with other clergy to a protest in Albany, Georgia, at the invitation of
Martin Luther King Jr. Dixen and others were jailed for three days.

In 1967, Dixen became pastor at Edina Community Lutheran Church, a
congregation that under his leadership called and ordained the first woman
Lutheran parish pastor in 1970. Parishioners also supported participants in
the Wounded Knee resistance and spoke out against church policy that
excluded gays and lesbians.

While serving parishes in Iowa in the 1980s, Dixen created a program called
“Ground Zero” to call attention to the danger of nuclear weapons. During the
farm crisis, he led efforts to support farmers facing bankruptcy by providing
them with legal and mental health services. He served as a member of the
board of Habitat for Humanity in Grinnell, Iowa, and hosted a
Soviet/American Peace Walk.

After retiring in 1994, he returned to Minnesota, where he has been an
activist on many fronts. A member of Veterans for Peace and Women Against
Military Madness, he helped found the Nonviolent Peaceforce, an international
organization of individuals and organizations seeking to build a trained,
international civilian peaceforce. Since then, he has addressed nearly 30
groups in churches, coffeehouses, and homes in the Upper Midwest to
promote the Peaceforce. He has been a regular participant in the weekly vigil
on the Lake Street bridge and in other protests of the Iraq War.

“I am very honored to be selected by the Hawkinson Foundation for this
award,” said Dixen, who lives in Circle Pines with his wife Sylvia and is a
member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. “The Foundation
gives me hope for the future. I am very proud to be a part of it.”