February 04, 2019 | Matt Kucinski

A man in a suit sits with his hands folded in front of a cloudy sky.
Dr. John M. Perkins

Dr. John M. Perkins, one of the leading evangelical voices to come out of the Civil Rights Movement, is the recipient of the 2019 Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life. Perkins will receive the honor, which comes with a $10,000 award, on April 25, 2019, during the Kuyper Conference hosted by Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary.

“For decades, Dr. Perkins has modeled what servant leadership looks like,” said Michael Le Roy, Calvin College president. “We are grateful to him for the many sacrifices he’s made in pushing back brokenness in pursuit of a vision for shalom.”

The Kuyper Prize, established in 1996 and named after Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper, is awarded each year to a scholar or community leader whose outstanding contribution to their chosen sphere reflects the ideas and values characteristic of the Neo-Calvinist vision of religious engagement in matters of social, political, and cultural significance in one or more of the ‘spheres’ of society. The prize and conference are funded thanks to a generous grant from Rimmer and the late Ruth De Vries. “Calvin College and Calvin Seminary are grateful to Rimmer and Ruth for helping to advance Christian engagement with culture. We are honored to be partners in this purpose,” said Le Roy.

Perkins is an internationally known speaker, author, and teacher on issues related to racial reconciliation and Christian community development. He’s also the founder of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)—a network of Christians committed to living in underserved neighborhoods with the goal of building relationships and seeing communities and people holistically restored.

Perkins joins an esteemed group of past winners of the award, which include a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Templeton Prize-winning philosopher, a prime minister, and a pair of U.S. ambassadors, to name a few.

“Dr. Perkins’ life’s work is centered around the value he places on every person and every community,” said Jul Medenblik, president of Calvin Theological Seminary. “Where he sees brokenness, he relentlessly pursues restoration. And, through this pursuit, we are provided a great example of what it looks like to act justly and to love mercy.”

Perkins will be awarded the prize at the closing event to the Kuyper Conference on Thursday, April 25, at the Prince Conference Center on Calvin’s campus. The Kuyper Conference is being held April 23–25, 2019 at Calvin College and will include plenary sessions featuring Hans Boersma, James Eglinton, Mark Gornik, Maria Liu Wong, and Kristen Deede Johnson. The theme of this year’s conference plenaries is “Christ and Community.” Proposals for concurrent sessions on a variety of topics will be accepted through February 15, 2019. See the Call for Papers for more details. The Henry Institute Symposium on Religion and Public Life will begin on April 25, and cross-registration is available for those who would like to attend both conferences.

For more information on the conference and the award, contact Jordan J. Ballor, Kuyper Conference Director, at jballor1@calvinseminary.edu or (616) 617-7669 or visit calvin.edu/events/kuyper-conference/.

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