Recent Graduate Awardees
The Rev. Vera Guebert-Steward is a 1997 graduate of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Ministry Award for Parish Ministry.
Upon her graduation from PLTS, Vera was called to serve Trinity Lutheran Church in Boulder, Colorado, and ordained into Word and Sacrament ministry on May 25. She served her first congregation faithfully, but even then demonstrated an eagerness to stretch herself by serving also on the Invitation to Service Committee and on the board of directors for the Lutheran Center for Theological Studies in the Rocky Mountain Synod.
When the opportunity to move to Evergreen presented itself, Vera seized it. She was ready for a new challenge, and Evergreen Lutheran Church was ready for her. So when they extended the call to her, she accepted on the spot. That was in February of 2001, when some 300 members worshiped in a little building.
Today, thanks to her compassionate leadership, 800 members worship in a new sanctuary and her members study and learn in new classrooms. And while her church has grown and has invested in expanded facilities, it would be unwise to conclude that her congregation is focused on itself. Throughout her tenure, Evergreen Lutheran Church has very much engaged in the global community: caring for the poor, building homes in Mexico, and supporting Habitat for Humanity.
They have also committed to hosting a seminary intern, and have just completed a year with a seminarian from PLTS.
One of her members said that her pastor’s most important gift is promoting a Christ-centered ministry, while another described her as an incredible preacher. Both agree that her kind heart and uncanny ability to make people feel important are what have kept their congregation growing. These things and along with her abundant energy and deep faith have all contributed to her success as a parish pastor, success that she happily shares with her husband of 24 years, Mark.
And so for her faithfulness to her call and her steadfast leadership to the church, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary is honored to present the Distinguished Ministry Award for Parish Pastor to the Rev. Vera E. Guebert-Steward.
The Rev. Dr. Peter Hanson is a 1994 graduate of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and a cum laude graduate of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. A year ago, he received his Doctorate of Ministry from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He studied abroad at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, while an undergraduate.
During the past four years, he served as Theological Advisor for Leadership Development for the Lutheran Church of Senegal. There he coordinated programs for the Department of Theology and Training, including ongoing evaluation of theological education; continuing education for pastors, evangelists and catechists; design and oversight of a candidacy and pastoral formation program; and assistance in securing international scholarships.
From 2004 to 2007, Peter directed the EELS, a church-based, non-governmental organization that coordinates the activities of four major community development projects, including a community center, a primary school, a rural primary health care program, and a dairy project working with a cooperative of herders.
Before that, he served as Director of Community Center Galle Nanondiral, a multi-faceted community ministry focused on education and training. There he supervised a staff of more than 30 full and part-time employees and managed a program that included a scholarly library, vocational training, adult literacy classes, teacher certification and health education, in addition to a well-developed sports and recreation program in the banlieue of Dakar, Senegal.
Peter served as parish pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church of Brattleboro, Vermont, from 1994 - 2001. During his tenure at PLTS, he served in the Office of Contextual Education, and as Assistant Night Minister in San Francisco. Before coming to PLTS, he was the Director of Senior High Ministries at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, Minnesota.
Peter has been an instructor, facilitator, presenter and workshop leader at countless courses, workshops and events. He was ordained on June 26, 1994, and commissioned an ELCA missionary on May 19, 2001. He currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife, Sarah E. Grow, and their two sons, Elijah Luc and Simon Peter.