The Rev. Bruce H. Davidson, class of 1974, is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Davidson, a resident of Stockton, New Jersey, is being recognized for his commitment to parish ministry as well as his visionary leadership for 10 years as director of the Lutheran Office for Governmental Ministry (LOGM/NJ), where he served as an advocate to public officials and congregations on behalf of the poor, homeless and disenfranchised before retiring this year. Prior to his appointment to LOGM/NJ, he served as pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Wildwood, New Jersey (1974-1981); pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Teaneck, NJ (1981-1992); as director of the Lutheran HIV/AIDS Ministry of NJ ( July 1992-June 1996) and as pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Summit, NJ, in an intentional three-year- interim call as full-time senior pastor and head of staff.
Recipient of many honors and awards over the years, Davidson received two appointments from former New Jersey Gov. John Corzine: the Housing Transition Team and the New Jersey Inter-Agency Team on Preventing and Reducing Homelessness. He is a founding member of the New Jersey Advocacy Network to End Homelessness, the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey and the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition.
Davidson credits the clarity of biblical and theological teaching at LTSP in aiding him to communicate clearly to others, including sometimes unchurched politicians, the essential importance of justice through serving others. “I learned in the process of responding to my call to serve as a pastor that God has first loved and forgiven me unconditionally, and that truth has given me the freedom to be part of a plan to encourage us to love one another. If God can use me in service this way, then God can use anybody.” He recalls seminary professors like Ted Tappert and Robert Hughes teaching him about what it means to be a faithful believer.