Lutherans in Minnesota

Former Metro Lutheran editor Chuck Lutz receives 2011 Hawkinson Peace & Justice Honorary Award

Charles “Chuck” Lutz has been selected to receive the 2011 Honorary Award of The Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace and Justice. He and his wife Hertha are members of Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer (ELCA)  in Minneapolis.

“Throughout his life, Chuck Lutz has been a leader and enabler of others in a broad range of peace and justice concerns, including war and conscience, hunger and poverty, economics, sexuality, and Christian/Jewish/Muslim dialogue,” said Mary Halvorson, chair of the Hawkinson Foundation board of directors and pastor at Grace University Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Minneapolis. “We are pleased to recognize his efforts and contributions in the cause of a more just and peaceful world.”

Chuck Lutz

For more than 50 years, Chuck Lutz has been an effective advocate for peace and justice issues.

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.

For more than 50 years, Chuck Lutz has been an effective advocate for peace and justice issues at the congregational, regional, and national levels, as well as in denominational, ecumenical, and interfaith arenas. The son of a Lutheran pastor, Lutz began exploring peace and social justice issues while studying at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, during the civil rights era. He went on to earn a divinity degree in 1957 from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.

“During my years as a student in the ‘50s, I discovered that genuine Lutherans did not need to be quietistic, divorced from politics, content with things as they are, and focused mainly on a life to come,” said Lutz. “I developed a sense of calling that God was sending me to labor in the public realm, with a passion to link my faith with society’s needs. It was a vocation that evolved as social change was erupting everywhere.”

Serving as a layperson, he began his career in communications — writing, editing, and speaking on the social concerns of the Lutheran church. He later founded and directed an ecumenical training center for urban ministry in the Twin Cities. From 1969 to 1974, he worked on war and conscience issues, counseling conscientious objectors and ministering to returning Vietnam veterans. He then joined the staff of the American Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, focusing in the areas of world hunger and social justice. Later in his career, he served as editor of Metro Lutheran.

Lutz has written a number of books relating to peace and justice as well as frequent articles and church policy documents. He has done adjunct teaching in peace/justice and social ethics at Wartburg College, and at Luther Seminary and United Theological Seminary, both in St. Paul.

In retirement, he continues to be active in the Joint Peace with Justice Committee of the Minneapolis and St. Paul Area synods (ELCA), the College of Retired Church Workers, and People of Faith Peacemakers. His primary retirement endeavor, however, has been serving as Minnesota volunteer coordinator with Churches for Middle East Peace, a coalition of 24 national agencies advocating for a just peace in the Holy Land. In that capacity, he has coordinated about six group visits to Israel/Palestine.

The Foundation also has awarded five scholarships to students working for peace and justice this year. Since 1988, the Foundation has awarded nearly $150,000 in scholarships to more than 100 students.

The 2011 Annual Awards Presentation to Lutz and the 2011 Hawkinson scholars will be held Sunday, October 9 at 4 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 1660 W County Road B, Roseville, Minnesota. All are welcome; refreshments will be served.

To learn more about the Honorary Award and the 2011 Hawkinson scholarship recipients, go to www.hawkinsonfoundation.org.

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