University of Divinity awards highest academic honour to theologian and educator, Reverend Dr Stephen Haar.
In September 2022, the Council of the University of Divinity resolved to award the degree of Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) to Reverend Dr Stephen Haar. The Chancellor of the University, Dr Graeme L Blackman AO, will confer the award on Dr Haar at the University’s graduation ceremony in Adelaide on Friday 2 December 2022.
The Doctor of Divinity is the oldest award of the University, created in 1910 and first awarded in 1913. It is the highest academic honour that the University bestows. The award is made in recognition of Stephen’s sustained and distinguished contribution to the Church and community in Australia and internationally over many years, through scholarship, educational innovation, and engagement with Church and inter-Church dialogue in myriad ways.
About the honorary award, Dr Haar said:
This is an amazing and humbling honour to receive such recognition from the University.
The study of theology and service in ministry are never engaged without a community of scholars and those committed to various vocations in church and the wider community. In reading the citation my thoughts immediately go to those gifted people whom I have had the pleasure to know and work alongside. In so many ways they have contributed to my learning and supported me in my serving.”
The citation for the award reads:
The Reverend Doctor Stephen Haar has made a sustained, distinguished, and self-sacrificial contribution to theological scholarship and education in Australia. He is a creative and resilient writer, thinker, designer and problem solver, who brings theological rigour and a deep understanding of learning and learners to the Academy and the Church. He has been an integral part of the transformational learning conversations and journeys of Australian Lutheran College and the University of Divinity. He works tirelessly in the spaces of tension between faith and reason, and is an exemplar of life-long learning.
Dr Haar has made a significant scholarly contribution to the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand. He has challenged the Church’s witness and service in diverse areas through thoughtful, caring and disciplined engagement with prevailing cultures and practices. This includes long term involvement in formational theological Church and inter-Church dialogue and the provision of innovative in situ education for indigenous Lutheran Pastors and Evangelists, Lutheran schools, and cross cultural and international Church partners. His courage to bring enabling theological perspectives to bear on controversial issues has advanced the theological capacity of the Church and its schools to grapple with theological questions in their contemporary contexts. At all times Dr Haar acts with wisdom, generosity and humility, honouring people with profound respect and dignity. His diverse written and verbal contributions have fostered critical change and innovation in the Church and the Academy.
The University and Church thank God for Dr Haar’s gifts, generous contributions, keen insight, and gentle wisdom. Soli Deo Gloria!
Congratulations Stephen. I am delighted to see your faithful servant leadership and your wise, insightful theological work at the interface of church and school, has been recognized and honored in this award. Your work around issues of sexuality in the Lutheran school context has been of particular blessing to me. I thank the Lord for your humble yet profound ministry.
David J Paech (Service-Learning Coordinator. Luther College, Croydon Vic)