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News Release

Moravian to honor Rev. Dr. Gene E. Handwerk ’77 with Hus Award

Weber Memorial lecture and Alumni Reunion Luncheon to be held
March 13 & 14

(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)— The Governing Board of the Moravian Theological Seminary Alumni/ae Association will honor the Rev. Dr. Gene E. Handwerk with the 2003 John Hus Award at a reunion luncheon on Friday, March 14. Rev. Handwerk is being recognized for his meritorious service to the church and humankind.

Handwerk grew up on a potato farm in northwestern Lehigh County. After high school he attended Delaware Valley College graduating in 1966 with a degree in agronomy. After working for several years on the family farm Gene felt a call to ministry. He attended Moravian Theological Seminary graduating with a M.Div. degree in 1977. He received a Doctor of Ministry from Drew University in 1982 and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling from MTS in 1985.

Hankwerk served as pastor of the Lutheran Congregation of Ziegels Union Church in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania from June 1977 to November 1996. He served from April 1984 to November 1996 as a member and chairperson of the Candidacy Committee of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of ELCA. From 1985 to 1990 he was part of the extended counseling staff of Family Life Services at the Lutheran Home in Topton, Pa., specializing in individual, marriage and family counseling.

Since 1996, Handwerk has served as Associate of the Bishop, Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of ELCA. He serves as the synod liaison to the Schuykill Mission District and the East Berks Mission District. He is synod consultant to union churches and the synod’s liaison to the interim ministry. He has just completed his second term on the MTS Board of Trustees.

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.

The Moravian Theological Seminary will hold its annual Weber Memorial Lecture on Thursday March 13, 2003 from 9:30 am – 2:30 pm. Dr. Stanley Hauerwas who will present “Speaking Truth to Power: Bonhoeffer on Lying” in the Saal of the Bahnson Center. Hauerwas is one of America’s most astute critics of church and culture. He will speak about Dietrich Bonhoeffer's writings on truth and power, and apply Bonhoeffer's thought to our current geopolitical situation. The lecture is open to the public and admission is free.

This lecture will explore Bonhoeffer’s understanding of lying and why he thinks it appropriate to hold a politics to truthful speech. By doing so, Bonhoeffer’s opposition to the Nazis will be illuminated as well as how his understanding of the relationship between truth and politics is a challenge for people living in allegedly democratic regimes.

Hauerwas is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at the Divinity School of Duke University. He has been on the teaching faculty at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, Notre Dame, and Duke University. A prolific author and speaker, he has delivered lectures all over the United States as well as overseas, and presented the 2000-01 Gifford Lectures at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is the recipient of honorary degrees from DePaul University and the University of Edinburgh.

Moravian Theological Semianry is located at 60 W. Locust St., Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. To register for the Weber Lecture, contact the Seminary’s Continuing Education Program by calling 610-861-1519.