By Molly Lackey
On Nov. 10 at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Concordia Historical Institute (CHI) hosted its 49th annual awards banquet to recognize scholarly contributions to the study of Lutheranism in North America. In addition, the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), received CHI’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his work to expand and popularize Lutheran history in North America.
The Distinguished Service Award is CHI’s highest honor, recognizing “exemplary contributions and service to the cause of Lutheran history and archives in North America.” Harrison has translated and edited a number of German- and Latin-language resources with historic significance to Lutherans in North America — most significantly, At Home in the House of My Fathers, a collection of writings from the early presidents of the LCMS.
In addition to being recognized at the awards ceremony, Harrison was the featured speaker during the banquet. He presented the essay, “Called to a Monumental Task,” which stressed the importance of history — especially church history — in the life and faith of the Christian.
“We confess a God of creation, time and eternity,” Harrison said. “So tonight, I give thanks. … for the Gospel throughout history — for the Gospel at the time of Luther and in our great post-Reformation church. And I give thanks for CHI trumpeting the treasures — treasures owed all to the Gospel of free forgiveness in the blood of Jesus Christ.”
As a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, Harrison received a reproduction of a one-of-a-kind 16th-century gilt silver Reformation medal of Martin Luther, the original of which is part of CHI’s Reformation Coin and Medal Collection.
Works that received Awards of Commendation during the ceremony are:
- Seminex in Print: A Comprehensive Bibliography of Published Material and Selected Archival Resources for Historical Research, David Berger, Concordia Publishing House.
- Promises Unfulfilled: A History of the First Lutheran College in North Carolina, Ben Callahan, IUniverse (2020).
- The English District Saga: A Niche in the History of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America, David P. Stechholz, Angels’ Portion Books.
- Early History of the Lutheran Church in Georgia, Hermann Winde, Pickwick Publications.
- Sent by the Shepherd: Seventy-Five Years at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. Gaylin R. Schmeling, Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary.
- “Henry Melchior Muhlenberg’s Catechetical Efforts in Colonial America, 1742-1752,” Mary Jane Haemig, Teaching Reformation: Essays in Honor of Timothy J. Wengert, Fortress Press.
- “Lutheran Pietist and Covenant Church History: C.O. Rosenius and the Reading Culture of the Mission Friends,” Mark Safstrom, Sacred Migrations: Borderlands of Community & Faith, Essays in Honor of Philip J. Anderson, The Swedish-American Historical Society (2020).
- “Caught Between Norway, Denmark, and Missouri: The Confessional Identity of the Norwegian Synod from 1853 to 1917,” Christian J. Einertson, Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly, 94:1.
- “The Church Grows Under the Cross: Mission Expansion in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 1929-1983” (in five installments), Joel D. Otto, Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, 117:2–118:2.
- “A Cause of Distress: The Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the West,” Benjamin T. Phelps, Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly, 94:2 (2021).
- “Newspaper War: The Lutheran Observer and the Lutherische Kirchenzeitung Fight the First Open Battle over Lutheran Doctrinal Identity in 19th Century America,” Benjamin Phelps, Journal of the Lutheran Historical Conference: 2019.
- “The Martin Luther Film of 1953 and Confessional Tensions in the United States and Germany,” Mark Edward Ruff, Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly 94:2 (2021).
For a full list of award recipients, including honorable mentions, visit concordiahistoricalinstitute.org.
As the Synod’s department of archives and history, CHI exists to trumpet the treasures of the Lutheran church and to increase awareness and appreciation of the church’s history. It maintains two museum exhibits, recognizes major publications on Lutheran history and shares the story of the LCMS with the world. You can support CHI’s mission by becoming a CHI member. Call 314-505-7900 or visit concordiahistoricalinstitute.org/membership.
Molly Lackey (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the social media and special projects assistant at Concordia Historical Institute in Clayton, Mo.
Posted Nov. 17, 2022