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Concordia Seminary Confers Special Honors

The faculty of Concordia Seminary honored three distinguished servants in the Lutheran church with lifetime achievement awards during Commencement exercises on May 20, 2005. The three awards were the Christus Vivit award, honorary doctor of laws and honorary doctor of divinity.

Mark Bender of Manchester, Mo., received the Christus Vivit award, granted each year to laity who exemplify a lifetime of distinguished and dedicated service in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Bender is minister of music at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Des Peres, Mo. He served on the Commission on Worship of the LCMS from 1995 to 2004 and as its chairman from 2001 to 2004, as well as on the Liturgy Committee for the Synod’s New Hymnal Project from 1997 to the present. While on the Commission, he served in the planning and execution of numerous workshops and conferences around the country. He likewise served on the Missouri District Worship Committee for several years. He has published numerous compositions of church music.

Dr. Leo S. Mackay Jr. of Atlanta, Ga., was awarded the honorary doctor of laws degree in recognition of his creative application of Christian principles to the administration of civil affairs in the realms of both church and state. He currently serves on the board of the LCMS National Housing Support Corporation, a new nonprofit, national charitable organization to help congregations, districts and social ministry organizations with housing and community development. He previously served as president of the board of directors of Lutheran Inter-City Network Coalition (LINC) in Dallas, Texas. In 2001, Dr. Mackay was appointed deputy secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington, D.C. Since 2003, he has been chief operating officer for ASC State Healthcare, headquartered in Atlanta.

Dr. Ernst Koch of Leipzig, Germany, was awarded the honorary doctor of divinity degree in recognition of his scholarship, especially his exceptional contribution to confessional studies, his faithful service to the church as a confessional Lutheran and his witness in a time of extreme duress. Professor Koch is the author of numerous publications and an impressive scholar, with expertise particularly in the history of the second half of the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. He exemplifies the dedication that has been required to maintain and project the Lutheran confession of the faith and the spirit of cooperation between the LCMS’ partner church, the Selbstständige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Deutschland, and Lutherans in other German churches.

For more information, contact Communications, Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105; (314) 505-7374;