Third Annual Esther Award and Esther Scholar
In 2008 NBTS conferred its first Esther Award recognize those whose behavior in the public sphere gives witness to a strong foundation in Christian faith and ethics. The Esther Award is given to acknowledge those whose beliefs and commitment to the Gospel enable them to rise fully to a Christian response in the face of public turmoil. These acts of service, selflessness and commitment to the Gospel are what the Ester Award is all about and why it is important to recognize special individuals and communities performing extraordinary acts of Christian leadership.
Our Christian responsibility goes well beyond the pews of the church and the halls of the Seminary. Jesus set the example of making the world a better place by helping those in need and leading through sacrifice and good works. This spirit is exemplified today by our 2010/2011 Esther Award recipients, Reformed Church of Highland Park, pastored by Seth and Stephanie Kaper-Dale.
RCHP shines as an example of our commitment to public theology. Doing God's work to effect positive change and expand the reach of social justice are what makes us rise fully as Christians, and as queen Ester, to help people at a strategic time.
In recent years RCHP and its non-profit organizations created a Fair Trade Store in the church (that led to 10,000 villages coming to Highland Park and opening shop; an affordable summer camp that serves children throughout the summer; a daily drop-in center for teens; and environmental focus that led to a solar array on the church roof; 28 apartments for very low income/homeless youth aging out of foster care, veterans of war and youth with justice involvement; an immigration ministry that has resulted in dozens of individuals being released from detention and has also led to creative new possibilities for undocumented immigrants to receive work permits and driver's licenses and to live without fear ; a thrift shop that serves hundreds of local clients each week; a 'Green Community Café' (that is run by others but hosted at RCHP); and an open and affirming message around LGBT issues that has helped create a progressive public voice in the Reformed Church.
Pastors Seth and Stephanie are Christian Olympians carrying the torch for those in need and setting world records of service and social justice.
We also named our Esther Scholar, Breta Nyajure. Breta will receive a full scholarship for the 2010-2011 academic year that recognizes her faith commitment and academic excellence at NBTS.
Join us in congratulating these outstanding contributors to our community and our institution.