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Left to Right: President Gregg A. Mast (76), The Rev. Evans Spagner (97), student Danielle Brown,

Seminary Presents First Annual Esther Award


President Mast awarded The Esther Award at The President's Society Dinner on Friday, September 26th to the congregation of the Fountain Baptist Church of Summit, N.J. for extraordinary compassion and generosity to those ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. The church's gift of $1 million to the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention is helping to empower families for stronger living, to equip churches to minister effectively in a post-Katrina context, and to enable sustainable community development. Fountain Baptist met its largest fundraising goal, inspiring congregations and others throughout our nation to respond likewise "for such a time as this."

"It means a great deal for the church to be the first to receive this award,"said The Rev. Evans Spagner (NBTS 1997 M.Div. graduate), who received the award on behalf of the congregation.

The seminary established The Esther Award as part of its commitment to public theology. It is named after the Old Testament queen Esther, who was placed in a position to help her people at a strategic time ("for such a time as this). The award recognizes annually those whose behavior in the public sphere gives witness to a strong foundation in Christian faith and ethic. The Esther Award acknowledges those whose belief and commitment to the Gospel enable them to rise fully to a Christian response in the face of public turmoil.

The Esther Award includes two prizes: a commemorative gift to the recipient, and the naming of a seminarian as The Fountain Baptist Scholar for one year. Ms. Danielle Brown of Perth Amboy, N.J, a full-time M.Div. student, will receive a full, one-year scholarship.

"I am really honored to receive this scholarship particularly because it is tied to work done to help victims of Katrina,"said Ms. Brown.

"The congregation's extraordinary commitment and generosity in raising $1 million to help rehabilitate churches for other congregations demonstrates unparalleled Christian love," said The Rev. Dr. Gregg Mast, President of the seminary.




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