Schattschneider Award honors work on preserving historical sites

At the 8th Annual Bethlehem Conference on Music and History, the Center for Moravian Studies presented the 2023 David A. Schattschneider Award of Excellence to David and Sally Ann Johnston and Peter and Jill Vogt. 

The Schattschneider Award is presented to individuals who exemplify the mission of the Center for Moravian Studies to “promote the study of the history, theology, and mission of the Moravian Church.” 

This year’s awards honor those whose work is contributing to the effort for a multinational UNESCO World Heritage Site designation of several Moravian communities. The three specific communities being looked at to join with Christiansfeld (Denmark) include: Bethlehem (USA), Gracehill (UK), and Herrnhut (Germany). (For more information on this topic, see Issue 1, 2023).

The first of the Schattschneider Awards was presented David and Sally Ann Johnston of Gracehill, Northern Ireland, who have dedicated countless hours of their time to preservation, restoration and interpretation of the Moravian settlement at Gracehill.

“David and Sally Ann live in one of the historic Moravian buildings in the settlement and have dedicated countless hours of their time to preservation, restoration, and interpretation of the settlement,” said the Rev. Dr. Craig Atwood, chair of the Center for Moravian Studies, who presented the award. “They have lived in the Moravian village of Gracehill since their marriage in 1989 when they took up residence in the former Single Brethren’s Home and Sally Ann’s childhood home in the village. Since then, they have undertaken conservation work on the house and been active in the local Moravian church and wider community.

“Outside of their work in history, David is a physician and Sally Ann an educator. When they began working on this process more than two decades ago, people thought they were daft for imagining that a tiny Moravian settlement in the United Kingdom could be recognized as significant for world heritage, but they persisted and overcame nearly every obstacle with charm, grace, and humor.”

Also receiving the Schattschneider award were Peter and Jill Vogt, co-pastors of the Moravian congregation in Herrnhut, Germany, who have led the community-wide effort to include Herrnhut in the World Heritage Site.

“Herrnhut was the first Moravian settlement and served as the model for the two dozen settlements that were created in the 18th century, including Bethlehem,” said Craig in his award presentation. “It is impossible to overestimate the role that Herrnhut has played in the history, heritage, and imagination of the Moravian Church and modern global Protestantism.

“Peter and Jill Vogt have served as co-pastors of the Herrnhut congregation since 2013 and have led the community-wide effort to include Herrnhut in the World Heritage Site. This has involved countless meetings with local, regional, and national authorities, fund raising, and renovation of key buildings, most notably the church building.

“Jill Vogt is a native of Maine and holds the Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School and Doctor of Ministry degree from Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia. She was ordained in the UCC church, and since 2004, has served as a pastor in the European Continental Province of the Moravian Church in Germany.

“Peter Vogt grew up in the Königsfeld Moravian settlement in Germany and studied at Moravian College, Harvard Divinity School, and Boston University. In addition to being a co-pastor with Jill, Peter has been Director of Theological Education for the European Continental Province for nearly 20 years.”

The Center for Moravian Studies began presenting an award of merit named for the late David Schattschneider who founded the Center while he was Dean and Vice President of Moravian Theological Seminary. David joined the faculty of Moravian Theological Seminary in 1968 as an instructor in the areas of Historical Theology and World Christianity and for over three decades he was the leading consultant on Moravian history in the academic world.

The 2022 award recipients were presented to Charlene Donchez Mowers of Bethlehem and Jørgen Bøytler of Christiansfeld for their work in promoting Moravian settlements in Europe and North America as World Heritage sites.