Local, Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Four Lutherans named for 2010 Peace & Justice Awards

Hawkinson Foundation honors activists, awards scholarships at annual meeting

The Rev. Dr. James Siefkes of Minneapolis, Carol and Ken Masters of Minneapolis, and the Rev. Verlyn Smith of St. Paul  received the 2010 Honorary Awards of The Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace and Justice on November 5 at Centennial United Methodist Church in Roseville, Minnesota. The Hawkinson Honorary Awards are made annually by the Hawkinson Foundation to individuals or couples who have devoted their lives to promoting peace and justice.

The Foundation was established in 1988 to honor the late Rev. Vincent L. Hawkinson, who served 30 years as pastor of Grace University Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.

“This year’s Honorary Award recipients have a wide spectrum of interests and concerns, all centered around a long and passionate commitment to fighting injustice and creating a better world,” said the Rev. Mary Halvorson, acting chair of the Hawkinson Foundation board of directors and pastor at Grace University Lutheran Church.

The Foundation also awards annual Hawkinson Scholarships to students who demonstrate a commitment to peace and justice. This year, Kiflu Tesfaye, a student at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, is among the eight students selected for the annual scholarships. In addition, three Augsburg College students — Juve Meza-Rodriguez, Maria Hinojosa, and Ulises Ayala-Beltran — are receiving multi-year scholarships as part of a special collaboration with Augsburg to assist low-income students.

Since 1988, the Foundation has awarded nearly $120,000 in scholarships to 95 students.

The awards and scholarships were presented at a special event in collaboration with the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers. (See “Hawkinson Foundation crosses generations,” below.)

Lifetimes of commitment to peace and justice

The Rev. James Siefkes

During his long career, Jim Siefkes was a courageous voice for justice and understanding within the Lutheran church and beyond. A former parish pastor, he went on to hold regional and national positions within the church, including director of the Department of Congregational Social Concerns and the Mission Discovery Program in the American Lutheran Church and director of Discovering Ministries in the ELCA, from which he retired in 1991. He pioneered convergence between national religious bodies, sexuality, and science with special care given to the areas of sexual health and sexual orientation. Siefkes was a founder of the Program for Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota.

The Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace & Justice joined with the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers to sponsor an intergenerational peace and justice event.

Members of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Carol and Ken Masters have been peace activists for many years, with a focus on the arms trade and its connections to worldwide violence and poverty. They have taken part in numerous nonviolent protests, marches, and vigils as part of the Honeywell Project and Women Against Military Madness (WAMM). Carol has served a number of jail sentences for her participation. As members of the Community of St. Martin, they have participated in vigils at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, for many years. An author of two books on peace-related topics, Carol is currently co-chair of the WAMM board of directors.

In his roles of parish pastor, college teacher, and campus minister, Verlyn Smith advocated tirelessly for the church to work for peace and justice. After serving two parishes and then teaching church history at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Smith became regional director of Lutheran Campus Ministry during the tumultuous Vietnam era, assisting colleges in 10 states to address campus upheaval around civil rights issues and the anti-war movement.

Carol and Ken Masters

During that time, Smith counseled and worked with conscientious objectors. In 1977, he moved to the Twin Cities, served as Twin Cities metropolitan campus minister, and co-founded People of Faith Peacemakers. He served as pastor of Grace University Lutheran Church from 1985 to 1992, and helped found the Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace & Justice in 1988. He has served on the ELCA’s Peace and Justice Committee and with the Nonviolent Peace Force and Citizens for Global Solutions.

Hawkinson Foundation crosses generations

The Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace & Justice joined with the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers (MAP) to sponsor an intergenerational event on November 5, 2010, at Centennial United Methodist Church, Roseville, Minnesota. Under the theme “Bringing Generations Together: Creating a Culture of Peace,” the event included:

The Rev. Verllyn Smith

* “Scholars dinner”

The 2010 Hawkinson scholarship recipients were special guests at a dinner to raise awareness and funds for the Hawkinson Scholarship program. The scholarships were presented and students talked about their peacemaking efforts.

* “Peacemakers Fair”

A MAP exhibit fair of peace and justice organizations was open to the public.

* “Culture of Peace Dialogue”

This free program began with the presentation of the 2010 Hawkinson Honorary Awards, followed by an intergenerational dialogue on peacemaking between Hawkinson honorees and Hawkinson scholarship recipients, which was moderated by former Minnesota Public Radio program host and reporter Jeff Horwich. Students from the University of St. Thomas Peace and Justice program presented about alternatives to violence — strategies and tactics — that could contribute to a culture of peace.

Finally, audience members participated in a dialogue, focusing on the development of a culture of peace.

“We [brought] together people of different ages and perspectives [to] engage them in thoughtful conversation. We believe this will strengthen our collective efforts to achieve a more peaceful and just world,” said Eric Hucke, Hawkinson Foundation executive director

To learn more about the Hawkinson Foundation, go to www.hawkinsonfoundation.org.

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