The Rev. Wayne Peterson ’77, founding pastor of St. Barnabas Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Minn., received the 2014 Covenant Award at the 27th Annual Meeting of the Gustavus Adolphus College Association of Congregations on Saturday, April 26.
Since 1991, the Covenant Award has been bestowed annually in recognition and celebration of the efforts of individuals who have made significant contributions in strengthening the presence of the College in the Church and the presence of the Church in the College. Past recipients include former Gustavus Presidents John Kendall (1991) and Dennis Johnson (2003), former religion professors Robert Esbjornson (1992) and Ron Christenson (1997), former Senior Pastor at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis Paul Youngdahl ’59 (2000), and Bishop of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod in the ELCA Jon V. Anderson (2011).
Peterson is being celebrated for his contributions to the life and growth of both Gustavus and the Church, most notably for his consistent efforts to help strengthen the relational network of Gustavus alumni and Association of Congregation clergy. He has served on the Gustavus Board of Trustees since 2007, chaired the Commission Gustavus 150 Interdisciplinary Programs Task Force, and has been a consistent advocate for the church-related identity of the College with a special passion for maintaining the history of the College’s Swedish Lutheran roots within the Augustana Synod.
Peterson was born in Moline, Ill., and grew up in East Chain and Cokato, Minn., where his father Russell Peterson ’52 served parishes. He graduated from Gustavus summa cum laude with a double major in music and religion in 1977. He graduated from Luther Northwestern Seminary in 1981 before serving as associate pastor at Richfield Lutheran Church in South Minneapolis from 1981 to 1985. He founded St. Barnabas in 1985 and continues to serve there today.
In 2008, Peterson used part of his pastoral sabbatical for a project to research the congregations of the old Augustana Synod, to learn which congregations were still in existence, and which had merged with other congregations. The research project was taken on as a way to help support the Gustavus Office of Church Relations with the Sesquicentennial celebrations approaching and the scheduled historic gathering of the Augustana Heritage Association. Peterson served on the local planning committee for the Augustana Heritage Association gathering and had the additional leadership role of chair of the publicity subcommittee. Peterson has generously supported the Gustavus Center for Servant Leadership on a number of Association clergy outreach luncheons by hosting and coordinating details.
Wayne and his spouse, Jackie ’77, have two adult children; Benjamin and Kaitlyn ’11.
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