Soli Deo Gloria Award conferred upon Dr. Mia I. Enquist and her late husband Canon Dr. Roy Enquist

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The ceremony was a highlight of the Advent Vespers reception  Sunday December 2

Dr. Mia Enquist, 2012 recipient of the Soli Deo Gloria Award of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), told an Advent Vespers reception audience Sunday, December 2, 2012, that she considered the award “not to be a mark of attainment, but an incentive, a mandate to get on with philanthropy …”

Dr. Mia EnquistShe and her late husband, the Rev. Canon Dr. Roy J. Enquist, who died in April 2010, were honored with the award, given annually to a person or persons recognized by the seminary’s Board of Trustees for outstanding leadership and service to the church and to the mission of the seminary.

This past July, Dr. Mia Enquist and family members established with the seminary the Brandt Enquist Scholarship Fund for deserving LTSP students in honor of Mia’s late husband and her father, the Rev. William E. Brandt, both seminary graduates.

Dr. Mia Enquist said she was “inspired and joyful” to have been selected with her late husband as honorees and at one point said to the audience, consisting of other seminary donors including students, faculty and staff, “the conferring of this award … belongs to all of us.”

She told in her remarks of growing up on Boyer Street across from the seminary, recalling the opportunity to practice music on the organ in the seminary chapel. 

Dr. Enquist“My father and husband, graduates of this school, inspired me to be better as I learned about Martin Luther’s treatise on vocation to serve others,” she said. She talked about the unexpected patterns of her life that have later appeared to her as God’s designs. A Lutheran Deaconess in the late 1940s when she met her husband-to-be, Roy and Mia Enquist married in 1953. The couple raised two children. She spent her life as a performer and teacher of music, teacher of languages (University of Texas, Austin, where she earned a Master’s and PhD), and finally as a teacher in the field of finance, becoming a Certified Financial Planner and head of her own business in 1980.

“We had no knowledge of money,” she recalls of her 1980 decision to become an entrepreneur of finance. She spent the first two years in business learning all she could about stocks, bonds, futures, tax code matters, and other issues she described as often lost on the minds of the average investor. Many she counseled over the years had “no strategy to create wealth,” Dr. Enquist said. She said she first learned, then taught others how to keep funds they had buried “moving … how to get $1 to do the work to become $3 or $4.” She also taught her students how to engage in charitable work and philanthropy.

“I would say to them, ‘Do you want your giving to be voluntary or involuntary?'” she said, noting that a meaningful plan of philanthropy is marked by great love. “The long and short of it is, what would you like the capstone of your life to be?” She opined that the greatest gifts can be toward the mission of the church, adding “we owe the seminary our loyalty and support.” She then culminated her remarks with a tuneful reminder of where money, and all good gifts, come from, “We give Thee but Thine own, whate’er the gift may be…”

The late Dr. Roy Enquist’s service to the Church was wide and fruitful as an ethicist, scholar, teacher, author, ecumenist, and interfaith leader. He served Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Seaside, Oregon from 1953 to 1957. While there, he led the construction of a contemporary, altar - centered edifice. He was called as campus pastor at the University of Chicago from 1958 to 1960. Dr. Enquist was appointed to the faculty of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio from 1960 to 1962, and became Assistant Executive Secretary of the Division of College and University Work of the United Lutheran Church (ULC) from 1962-1965. He served on the faculty of Texas Lutheran College in Seguin, Texas from 1965 to 1974. After two years teaching at Marang Seminary, Rustenburg, South Africa, the University of Namibia, and Paulinum Seminary, Namibia, he returned to continue his work at Texas Lutheran. In 1980 he became the Director of the Lutheran House of Studies in Washington, DC, and Professor of Theology and Ethics at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg until his retirement. In 2000 he was installed as Canon at the Washington National Cathedral. 

left to right: Dr Blanck, Soli Deo Gloria Award recipient Dr. Enquist, Dr. Richter, Dr. KreyThe Soli Deo Gloria Award was conferred by trustee Robert Blanck with the assistance of seminary President Philip D. W. Krey.

Saying thanks proved to be a key theme for the evening. The Rev. Dr. John Richter, chair of the LTSP Board of Trustees, described the reception “as the annual gathering of family.” He described the seminary as a “jewel” that is part of the crown of the church with a gifted faculty, dedicated administration and staff, committed trustees and students “without which the seminary would have no meaning. This jewel would have less value without you as partners, part of a wider family of partners that prays for us and supports us financially. Without you we could not succeed. Thank you for what the seminary continues to be.”

Angel Marrero and Amanda NesvoldSaying thanks also were two seminarians, student body Vice President Amanda Nesvold and Angel Marrero. “Without you, we could not be here,” Nesvold told the audience in expressing deep thanks. Marrero briefly told his story of coming out of Puerto Rico, where his mother was a housewife and his father a construction worker. His parents pushed him to get a degree in education. “Graduate school was impossible to think of,” he said. “Through your generosity it is possible for people like me to do what would otherwise be impossible – to fulfill God’s call to me. Thank you.”

President Krey noted that a “range of constituents own what we do,” and the ownership is not measured entirely in dollars. “It takes generosity of all kinds to make it possible to meet the needs of our students and the church of the 21st century. You are invited to be part of our future as we look forward to serving God from this place to the ends of the earth, enriched by your contributions as we seek to enrich the future of the church.”

Dean Kiran SebastianRecently installed Dean Jayakiran Sebastian began brief remarks by praising immediate past Dean J. Paul Rajashekar and his spouse, Esther, for their generosity and “deep commitment” to the seminary over the 12 years of Paul Rajashekar’s time in office. Sebastian noted that students and alumni in recent months have been engaged in discussions about their favorite season of the church year, and that Advent “has struck a chord across the generations. What about Advent so engages us? Is it the uncertainty of the season, the expectations, the sense of longing and waiting within us and for one another?” He spoke of the seminary’s plans for a new curriculum done in consort with a careful business plan.

“The seminary is gifted to share with the church many gifted people” it has been called to train, said the Rev. John V. Puotinen, Vice President for Philanthropy and president of the LTSP Foundation. “We have an intellectually gifted faculty, an exciting staff, and wonderful students. We have received many gifts this year and among the most gifted people are in this room and in this place. We have so many to thank for their time and what they give. I give thanks for the gift that you are and for the gifts to the Lord and the seminary that enable us to have a vision to prepare even better people for the church in the years ahead."

Dr. Addie J. Butler, past chair of the LTSP Board, gave the invocation. The Rev. Louise N. Johnson, Vice President for Mission Advancement, gave the closing prayer. 

The reception was followed by the annual Advent Vespers offered by the seminary choir and Dr. Michael Krentz, Director of Music Ministry and Seminary Cantor. The vespers are supported each year by the Rev. Dr. Robert E. Bornemann Memorial Fund, and took place this year at nearby Grace-Epiphany Episcopal Church.

Advent Vespers photo

Advent Vespers photo

Advent Vespers photo

Watch a slide show of the Advent Vespers events

click an image in the slide show to view a larger version in the gallery