World-renowned missiologist receives lifetime achievement award


By Theresa Carson

The American Society of Missiology (ASM) has awarded its 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award to Father Stephen Bevans SVD.

Father Bevans, the Louis J. Luzbetak SVD Professor Emeritus of Mission and Culture at Catholic Theological Union (CTU) in Chicago, is recognized for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of missiological studies.

“Steve Bevans is receiving this award from the American Society of Missiology for a number of reasons,” said Dr. Arun W. Jones, Dan and Lillian Hankey Associate Professor of World Evangelism at Emory University and president of the ASM. “First, he is a scholar of world renown, who has published prolifically in a number of different missiological fields.

“Second, Steve has been an ardent supporter of the ASM, serving tirelessly in a number of capacities, including as president,” he said. “Third, and perhaps this is the most important, Steve Bevans is a man of deep faith, compassion, openness and joy, who relates to people from all sorts of Christian and other religious backgrounds with grace and ease. The ASM membership is deeply grateful to have Steve as part of our community.”

An internationally sought-after speaker, Father Bevans’s academic focus includes Contextual Theology, the Theology of Christian Mission and Missional Ecclesiology. One of his current endeavors is research into Pope Francis’s idea of “the culture of encounter.”

Father Bevans has taught at CTU for three decades. Prior to joining the CTU faculty, he served as a missionary and professor in the Philippines.

He holds a licentiate in Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in Theology from the University of Notre Dame. He also has served as a research fellow at Yale University and as a visiting scholar at St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge University, England.

He has authored, co-authored and edited 20 books, including Models of Contextual Theology (2002), An Introduction to Theology in Global Perspective (2009), Constants in Context: A Theology of Mission for Today (with Father Roger Schroeder SVD, 2004) and Does God Love the Coronavirus? Friendship, Theology, and Hope in a Post-Covid World (with Clemens Sedmak, forthcoming in 2021).

Father Bevans is past president of the ASM, a member of the SVD Chicago Province’s Provincial Council, and one of three Catholic commissioners on the World Council of Churches’ Commission on World Mission and Evangelism. He is the faculty advisor for CTU’s Catholics on Call program and an editorial board member of the International Review of Mission and several other scholarly journals.

ASM is an inclusive professional association made up of members from Roman Catholic, Conciliar and Independent communions of the Christian church. They are scholars and practitioners committed to participating in God’s mission to the world.

Founded in 1875, the Society of the Divine Word is the largest male Catholic congregation of missionaries, consisting of more than 6,000 missionary brothers and priests in more than 80 countries.

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