2012 DHCR Award Press Release
Matthew Gaventa of Princeton Theological Seminary
Wins the 2012 David H.C. Read Preacher/Scholar Award
The 2012 winner of the $20,000 David H.C. Read Preacher/Scholar Award is Matthew Gaventa, who will receive a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in May.
This annual award was created by the congregation of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church (MAPC) as a tribute to the Rev. Dr. David H.C. Read (1910-2001), an internationally renowned preacher, scholar, author and ecumenist, upon his retirement in 1989 after serving for 34 years as the church’s Senior Minister. It is awarded to a student in the final year of a Master of Divinity program at a Protestant theological school in the United States or Canada, who demonstrates exceptional distinction in both preaching and biblical scholarship and is committed to parish ministry.
The 2012 winner was selected from 47 candidates nominated by 43 theological schools. The other finalists, each of whom received a $1,000 award, were: Carolyn Albert from Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago; Jennifer Krushas from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC; and Randolph Ketcham from Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, PA.
Matthew Gaventa will preach at MAPC on September 30.
“A mature, winsome person who is going to be an influential Christian leader”
Matthew Gaventa, “a child of the church,” as he describes himself, was born in Rochester, NY, while his mother was teaching at Colgate Rochester Divinity School, and later followed her career to Columbia Seminary in Atlanta and to Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. He received a B.A. degree from Georgetown University in 2001, an M.A. degree in film studies from the University of Iowa in 2005, and after meeting his wife, a young Episcopal priest, enrolled at Princeton Seminary in 2009.
In a letter recommending him for this preacher/scholar award, a Princeton professor wrote: “Matthew is the strongest all-around student I have taught here...a mature and winsome person who is going to be an influential Christian leader.”
He is a certified candidate for ordination in the PC(USA) and hopes to find a pastoral call soon.
How the Award Winner is Chosen
Candidates nominated by their theological schools for the David H.C. Read Preacher/Scholar Award are judged on the basis of their seminary record, biographical statements, recommendations by two professors, recordings of two sermons (one based on an Old Testament text and the other based on a New Testament text) preached before live audiences and brief exegetical papers in support of each sermon. A seminary can nominate no more than two candidates each year.
All of the materials submitted are first reviewed by a lay committee of MAPC members that selects up to four finalists for evaluation by a panel of distinguished preacher/scholars of New York City churches. In addition to the Rev. Dr. Fred R. Anderson, Pastor of MAPC, the finalist judges for the 2012 award were: the Rev. Dr. Stephen Bauman, Pastor, Christ Methodist Church; the Rev. Dr. Amandus Derr, Pastor, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church; the Rev. Laura Jervis, Director, West Side Housing Federation; the Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnson, Pastor, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church; the Rev. Michael Lindvall, Pastor, Brick Presbyterian Church; and the Rev. Heidi Neumark, Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church of Manhattan.