Rev. Andrew Gruenhagen, pastor at St. Michael, Wayne, has been named one of three recipients of the 2014 Fr. Zwers Award for his support of faith-based schools. The award was instituted in 2005, in honor of Fr. John B. Zwers, founding member of the Michigan Association of Non-public Schools (MANS). “The award recognizes members of the clergy with a strong history of support for faith-based schools,” said MANS Executive Director Brian D. Broderick. He adds that pastors play a critical role in successful faith-based education.
Rev. Gruenhagen was nominated for the award by Mrs. Jayne Braun on behalf of faculty and staff at St. Michael, Wayne. Guidelines for nomination state that the nominee must:
- have a strong history of support for his faith-based schools;
- be able to articulate the importance of faith-based schools;
- have ongoing connections to the school community, its parents, teachers, and students; and
- demonstrate support for the leadership of the school community. In her nomination letter, Braun states: “We … believe [Rev. Gruenhagen] epitomizes everything this award represents.”
According to Braun, Pastor Gruenhagen “is a wonderful role model with a servant’s heart.” She added that he “views our church and school as parts of a total ministry. His belief in the unity between church and school is demonstrated through his actions and his words. His enthusiasm for the church and school knows no bounds!”
MANS represents over 400 faith-based schools across the state, including Catholic schools within the seven dioceses of Michigan, schools of the Michigan District, LCMS, Michigan Region of Christian Schools International, and the Association of Christian Schools International. Each year, 3 clergy members (one from each constituent group) are elected to receive the award. Together with Pastor Gruenhagen, two others were recognized with the Fr. Zwers award at the opening ceremony of the MANS Administrators’ Conference in Thompsonville, Mich. on Wednesday, October 8, 2014.
To learn more about the ministry of St. Michael’s, visit http://stmichaellutheran.org/.
Rev. Andrew D. Gruenhagen (center) is pictured with Dr. Bruce Braun, Superintendent of Michigan District Lutheran Schools (left) and Brian D. Broderick, Executive Director of Michigan Association of Non-public Schools.