Alumnus Perry Downs ’68 is co-winner of the 2013 Warren S. Benson Distinguished Educator Award. The award is the highest honor of the Society of Professors in Christian Education, given to individuals who have made an outstanding lifetime contribution in the field of Christian Education.
With the goal of becoming a seminary professor, Downs transferred to Cairn University (then PCB) and–at the advice of Dr. Gil Peterson and “to the dismay of my former theology professor”–pursued studies in Christian Education. “While I was at PCB,” he states in his acceptance speech published in SPCE’s winter newsletter, “I made two startling discoveries. The first was that Christian Education is where the action was, because Christian educators sat between the theologian and the person in the pew, translating theology into understandable concepts that had meaning to the life of the believer. The second discovery was that Christian Education [at the time] was focusing on the wrong question. Instead of asking ‘How do you organize a Sunday School?’ it should have been asking ‘How do you grow a Christian?’”
After graduation, Downs turned down a full ride at the University of Pennsylvania, choosing instead to pursue his doctorate in Religious Education and serve on the faculty of PCB for the next 8 years. For the past 30 years, Downs has served as a well-respected professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Perspective: It’s an important word. It is full of meaning, and its implications are profound, both for us as individuals and for us as a society, a society that seems,