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March 20, 2007
Hansen Receives $40,000 Grant from The Louisville Institute


Gary Neal Hansen, assistant professor of church history at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary (UDTS), has received a $40,000 grant from The Louisville Institute's Christian Faith and Life Grant Program. The funding will support a project titled "Doing the Work of God: Historical Models of Christian Prayer."

The nine-month Christian Faith and Life Grant will fund the development of a two-book project on ten historical models of Christian prayer, intended to help Christians experience prayer in richer ways, and to equip ministers and priests to be more effective spiritual directors. The first volume will explore these ten historical models, inviting the reader into the historical background of each one and the kind of spiritual life it nurtures, and offering practical guidance for its contemporary practice. The second volume, supplementing the first for use in classes on prayer in seminaries, colleges, and churches, will be a selection of primary sources in English translation, with a section for each of the ten models.

"I am thankful to the Louisville Institute for their support of this research. It is an exciting affirmation of the seminary faculty, and our scholarship in support of ministry," stated Hansen upon receiving the grant. "In prayer, Christians experience and express their faith by directly engaging with their God," he explained. "Throughout the ages, Christians have developed a rich variety of practices which have helped them pray. It seems to me that most Christians are aware of only the smallest segment of the possible ways they might approach prayer: Whatever they have learned in their particular church or family is the approach they know. People have a range of personalities, and different kinds of people need to pray differently. Awareness of the tradition will mean opportunity for growth."

Funds from the grant will support Dr. Hansen's research and writing at the University of Iowa where he will be a visiting scholar in the Department of Religious Studies. In October 2007, he will present a paper on portions of this research at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference in Minneapolis, MN.

"The generous support from the Louisville Institute will enable Gary to work on this important project," stated President Jeffrey Bullock. "Gifts such as this allow talented faculty members to share insights on prayer which is so central to the life of faith. His project is another demonstration of the Seminary's commitment to serve various ministries in the Church."

The Christian Faith and Life Grant program supports research projects by academics and pastors designed to make more accessible to religious believers the themes of Christian faith in relation to the realities of their contemporary lives.

The initiative seeks to support efforts to bring the resources of the ethical, liturgical, and doctrinal wisdom of the Christian faith into closer relation to the daily lives of practicing Christians and to describe more fully how the Christian faith is actually lived by contemporary Christians of various ages, circumstances, and traditions.