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Seminary names Rev. Robyn Szoke 2001 Hus Award Recipient

Rev. Robyn Szoke(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) -- Rev. Robyn Szoke has been named the 2001 John Hus Award Recipient for her distinguished career in parish ministry, administration, and education by the Governing Board of the Moravian Theological Seminary Alumni/ae Association.

Szoke will be receiving this award at the Alumni/ae Association’s annual luncheon and meeting on Thursday, March 8. The luncheon will take place in the Haupert Union Dining Room at 12:30 and will be preceded by a reception in the lounge at 11:30 a.m.

Szoke grew up in the Lehigh Valley and was confirmed in the Episcopal Church. She received a Master of Divinity from Moravian Theological Seminary in 1989. She then earned a Master of Sacred Theology degree from the General Theological Seminary in New York City.

Following her ordination as an Episcopal priest in 1989, Szoke served three congregations in the Diocese of Bethlehem. At Trinity Church, Pottsville, she helped create a Christian education outreach ministry to families, which was profiled in a film "Every Child is a Blessing". She was also instrumental in introducing the "Catechesis of the Good Shepherd" to the Bethlehem diocese, a program for the Christian development of children. In 1995, Szoke was called to serve as Assistant to the Bishop for Christian Formation and Director of the Christian Education Resource Center in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, one of the largest dioceses in the country. While there, she coordinated the development of a Children’s Ministry Center at the 1997 General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Her work in this area was instrumental in bringing children to the legislative body of the church.

Currently Szoke holds the position of Staff Officer for Children’s Ministry and Christian Education at the national office of the Episcopal Church of the USA, located in New York City. She serves as a consultant and resource person for Episcopal provinces, dioceses and congregations throughout the United States. A significant accomplishment in Robyn’s ministry is the creation of new liturgies, education, and advocacy for the full inclusion of children in the mission of the church, integrating issues in the area of age, race and culture.

Each year the Moravian Theological Seminary bestows the John Hus Alumni/ae Award upon an alumnus/a. This honor is created for the purpose of "giving special recognition to an alumnus or alumna, who, through outstanding service and loyalty to ministry, has brought distinction to the work of the ministry and to Moravian Theological Seminary." Any graduate of Moravian Theological Seminary is eligible to be nominated for the John Hus Award.

The award is appropriately named for John Hus, one of the great leaders of the Christian Church, who is revered as a pastor, preacher, scholar and martyr for his faith. As a leader for reform in the Church of his period, Hus is regarded as a forerunner of the Moravian Church which was founded in 1457.

A professor of philosophy at the University of Prague in the 1400’s, Hus was a priest who believed that Biblical authority was higher than Church authority. He believed that the Bible should be in the language of the people and he spoke against the abuses of the day that took place within the Church. The foremost of Czech reformers, Hus was tried for heresy and burned at the stake on July 6, 1415. He was a dedicated preacher and educator. The spirit of reformation he inspired did not die with him. His followers provided the spiritual courage and insight which led to the development of the Moravian Church as it is known today.