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Photo: Incoming National Fellowship President Leigh Anne Taylor, right, presents the 2019 Roger Deschner Award plaque to Brittney Stephan, left, who accepted the award on behalf of Ruth C. Duck. (Fellowship photo by Daniel Craig)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a celebration that opened The Fellowship's 2019 Convocation in Kansas City, prolific hymn writer Rev. Dr. Ruth C. Duck was named the recipient of the 2019 Roger Deschner Award on Monday, July 15.
Receiving the award on Ruth's behalf was her student and Fellowship member, Brittney Stephan, who is currently serving as the Associate Director for Multi-Cultural Vibrancy for the Michigan Conference.
"I consider it an immense privilege to have been one of her students during her tenure at Garrett-Evangelical," Brittney said, "and continue to have opportunities to glean wisdom from her as I live into my ministerial call."
In a recorded video, Ruth shared her appreciation for the honor.
"I am very much in prayer with United Methodists now," Ruth said. "It's a hard time, a lot of changes, and a lot less clarity about what's going to happen before you. ... I appreciate you honoring me in this way and wish you the best."
Brittney presented the award to Ruth on The Fellowship's behalf at the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada event, which was held concurrently in Dallas, Texas.
Ruth is an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ, a prolific hymn writer, a greatly admired scholar, and professor emerita of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary where she taught for almost 30 years. Her areas of study have included congregational song, healing and reconciliation, as well as worship and the arts. She began her hymn writing career by adapting older hymns with language that was more inviting and inclusive. Her pioneering work as a hymn text writer has now spanned over 40 years, and she has written close to 200 hymns.
The Fellowship began awarding the Roger Deschner Award in 1991 to recognize the outstanding contribution of those colleagues among us who have spent a lifetime involved in service to the church in the area of worship, liturgy and/or music.