VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/29/19)—The ABCUSA Committee on Christian Unity and Interfaith Relations received nominations for the Luke Mowbray Ecumenical Award in early 2019. The Committee voted to recognize Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray with the Luke Mowbray Ecumenical Award, given to an individual for “sustained performance or special achievement” in “the cause of ecumenism.” The award will be presented at the Committee on Christian Unity and Interfaith Relations Dinner on Friday, June 21, 2019, during the American Baptist Churches Biennial Mission Summit at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The Luke Mowbray Ecumenical Award was established in 1974 at the request of Edna Mowbray, in memory of her late husband to recognize their commitment to achieve Christian unity. Luke and Edna Mowbray were faithful members of First Baptist Church in Pratt, Kansas. They were dedicated American Baptists who helped other farmers during difficult times. The Award’s purpose is to give recognition to a member of an American Baptist church who has made an outstanding contribution in ecumenical work at the local, state, national or international level as either a volunteer or paid professional.
The Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, a member of Grosse Pointe Congregational Church, an American Baptist church, is the 24th recipient of the award. Dr. Murray has served on the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches and the Board of Directors of the Dwight Hall Center for Public Service and Social Justice at Yale University. He is a member of the Christian Ethics Commission of the Baptist World Alliance, is Co-Chair of the Theologians Commission of American Baptist Churches USA, and has served as a member of the international think tank of The Elijah Interfaith Institute in Jerusalem.
Dr. Murray is Minister of The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit, Michigan. Formerly Executive Minister and Head of Communion of the International Council of Community Churches, he has served as the pastor of American Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Unitarian Universalist, and United Church of Christ congregations in urban, suburban, and rural settings of Massachusetts, Michigan, and New York. A scholar in the fields of Christian theology, religion and the arts, homiletics, and interfaith dialogue, Dr. Murray has published five books in these fields, was the founding Managing Editor of The Journal of Inter-Religious Studies, and was a founding member of the Board of Directors of The Capital Region Theological Center.
In higher education, he served previously as President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Preaching at Ecumenical Theological Seminary, as Dean of the College and Associate Professor of Religion at Barrytown College, as chaplain and on the faculty at Harvard University, Skidmore College, Endicott College, and Suffolk University, and as an administrator at the Dwight Hall Center for Public Service and Social Justice at Yale University. He also has taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Auburn Theological Seminary, and the Advanced Studies in England Program in Bath, affiliated with University College, Oxford University.
He earned a B.A. in philosophy and religion from Bucknell University, an M.B.A. from Endicott College, an M.Div. from Yale University Divinity School, and an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.