ST. PAUL, Minn. (May 13, 2010) — Dr. Dirk Lange, associate professor of worship, Luther Seminary, is the recipient of a 2010-11 Lilly Theological Research Grant for the project, “Rethinking Communal Prayer: A Baptismal Discipline.”
Dr. Lange will use the grant to research the topic of communal prayer as a form of resistance. He will study the ways underground prayer groups in communist East Germany lived out a testimony that brought them into a significant dialogue with a secular society. He will then examine the impact communal prayer can have on the life and witness of faith communities in North America.
“The faculty fellowship will allow me to pursue a longstanding goal: not only to document the courageous witness of many Christians under oppression in the former East Germany but also to explore what role communal prayer plays in resistance,” Lange said. He expects that his research, which will be primarily in Leipzig, Germany, will result in a book on the topic.
“This impressive grant not only highlights Dirk Lange’s strength as a global scholar and professor of worship, but it also gives recognition to the overall strength of the Luther Seminary faculty,” said Luther Seminary President Richard Bliese.
Lange, who joined the Luther Seminary faculty in 2008, holds Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology degrees from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) (2001) and a Doctor of Philosophy from Emory University, Atlanta (2005). He had served on the LTSP faculty before joining Luther Seminary. During the 1980s, as a Brother of Taizé, he worked with church leaders and many lay people involved with prayer groups in the Eastern European underground.
The grant is awarded by the Association of Theological Schools in partnership with Lilly Endowment Inc. Dr. Lange received a Faculty Fellowship, the largest of four levels of grants offered. Twenty total grants were given this year through the program, which seeks to encourage high-quality research across the theological disciplines by scholars at all stages of their careers.
Lilly Endowment was founded in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. The Endowment – a private philanthropic foundation – is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. It is devoted to the causes of religion, education and community development. The Endowment supports a wide variety of efforts to enhance the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes. It also funds projects designed to promote informed dialogue about religion in American life, generate new knowledge, communicate fresh insights, and renew and sustain vital institutions of American Christianity.
(source: Luther Seminary Communications)