The Lutheran Historical Society of the Mid-Atlantic announced that a 2018 Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary graduate won the A.R. Wentz Prize in American Lutheran History. Benjamin Phelps, pastor at Grace, Kenai, Alaska, won for his paper “Awakened to Confessional: The Doctrinal Development of F.C.D. Wyneken and its Place in the Course of Lutheranism in America.” This was Phelps’ senior thesis. A descendant of 19th Century Lutheran clergymen and leaders F.C.D. Wyneken and August Craemer, he has an interest in his family roots and 19th century Lutheranism and has written several papers and articles on the topic.
Abdel Ross Wentz, for whom the award is named, was a leading figure in 20th century Lutheranism. From 1916-1956 he was a professor of Church History and later President of Gettysburg Theological Seminary. He was the first Vice-President of the Lutheran World Federation and the lead writer of its first constitution. The Wentz family established an endowment to provide prize money for the best historical paper on Lutheranism in North America. The prize can be awarded each year in two categories: 1) first degree seminarian and 2) M.A or PH.D graduate students