“All of us are aware that the Seminary principally prepares pastors and deaconesses for service in the Church,” Dr. Charles Gieschen, Academic Dean at CTSFW, said in introduction to the awards convocation following chapel today. “In preparing individuals for these vocations, however, we have rigorous academic programs that involve a wide variety of learning experiences, which are constantly evaluated, as you all know only too well. Although academic achievement is by no means the sole aspect of these formation programs, nevertheless, high academic achievement merits our respect and our recognition. This annual academic awards convocation is one small way through which we recognize these outstanding academic achievements. So on behalf of the entire faculty, I express our sincere appreciation for the many ways that you student pursue academic excellence in your theological studies.”
Dr. Gieschen first acknowledged and thanked the seven graduate students in this current academic year (while pursuing further study): Jacob Benson, Daniel Broaddus, Christopher Maronde, Roger Mullet, Justin Mason, Eli Voight, and Aaron Zimmerman. He then announced next year’s graduate assistants: Daniel Broaddus, Christopher Maronde, Roger Mullet, Hayden Folks, Keith Kettner, Joseph McCalley, Titus Utecht, and Jay Weideman.
He also announced that seminarians Robert Schrader and Eli Voight will be involved in archaeological digs in Israel, as funded by the Lois Ann Reed Endowment Fund for Archaeology. The awards, as broken down by departments, were then presented as follows.
Dr. Arthur Just, Exegetical Department
St. Timothy Award (established some years ago by an anonymous donor to encourage a second-year student in his continued study of the Holy Scriptures): Dylan Smith
Zondervan Biblical Greek Award: Hayden Folks
Zondervan Biblical Hebrew Award: Kyle Richardson
Exegetical Theology Department Writing Award: Carl Hingst, “The Song of Hezekiah as a Universal Song of Lament: A Study of Isaiah 38:9-20”
The Classical Association of the Middle West and South Award for Outstanding Accomplishment (for exemplary work in advanced Greek class, producing an outstanding term paper): Joshua Ralston
Dr. David Scaer, Systematic Theology Department
Lepper-Draves Scholarship, awarded to a fourth-year student for outstanding academic accomplishment and analytical thought in the study of Dogmatics and Confessional Theology: Timothy Sheridan
Zondervan Theology Award: Kyle Brown, for his paper on “The Resurrection and Theology of Benedict XVI”
Systematic Theology Department Writing Award: Titus Utecht, “How Real Is the Resurrection? A Review of Stefan Alkier’s ‘The Reality of the Resurrection?’”
Dr. Carl Fickenscher, Pastoral Ministry and Missions Department
First, he asked for a round of applause in acknowledgment of Dr. Don Wiley and the three students currently serving a Spanish-speaking congregation in Columbus, IN: Vicar Gino Marchetti, third-year student Daniel Fickenscher, and second-year student Tyler McMiller. All four take turns recording a sermon that is sent to the Spanish-speaking worshippers at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, which are also uploaded to the Seminary YouTube channel “CTSFW en Español.” Dr. Fickenscher then moved on to the following awards:
Gerhard Aho Homiletics Award (Outstanding Sermon Award): Matthew Schettler, for his funeral sermon, “Pearl Was Ready” based on Luke 2:25-33
Pastoral Ministry and Missions Department Writing Award: Robert Ricard, “Luther’s Creedal Explanation for Stewardship”
Dr. James Bushur, Historical Theology Department
Historical Theology Department Writing Award: David Wurdeman, “Johann Gerhard’s Christology in Consideration of the Crypto-Kenotic Controversy”
Finally, Paul Gaschler, President of the Student Association (which helped plan the awards ceremony and funded the reception that followed), presented the 2019 Shepherd’s Staff Award to Michael Terkula. “[It] is given to a member of the graduating class who displays the most pastoral qualities, as voted on by the graduating class,” he explained.
Dr. Rast, President of CTSFW, concluded the presentations with the following thank you and encouragement to our students, with a nod to the fact that today is the commemoration of C.F.W. Walther:
“The striking thing of a convocation of this sort is the variety of gifts that the Lord gives to His Church. And it never ceases to amaze me how the Lord provides, in respect to the wellbeing of His Church and the carrying out of its mission. A hundred and thirty-two years ago today, our second seminary president passed away; Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther—C.F.W. Walther—passed away and he brought to the Missouri tradition, along with our first president, Wilhelm Sihler, a strong emphasis on the wedding together of academics and pastoral formation. And so we see today, as we are nearing the end of our 173rd academic year, the continuance of that translation. My hearty congratulations to all of the students recognized here today, and my thanks to all of our students for the excellent work you do and the excellent work you will continue to do as you move out into Christ’s Church, whatever your area of service.”