Laura Garrett ’13 wins 2012 Samuel Robertson Award
Laura Garrett ’13 was recently named one of the top two winners of the 2012 Samuel Robertson Award, sponsored by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, also known as the PC(USA).
The main purpose of the Robertson Award is to promote the memorization of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Students who memorize and recite the catechism successfully are presented a study Bible provided by the Betty W. Chrisman Fund, and they are also required to write a 2,000-word essay on a certain topic. Readers who judged the essays considered how the essay incorporated the catechism and Scripture in the discussion of the chosen topic.
“I am thankful to have received the Samuel Robinson Award because I put a lot of hard work into writing the essay and memorizing the catechism,” Garrett says. “I am also glad to receive the award because it will pay for my CentreTerm trip to Ghana next year.”
Rick Axtell, Paul L. Cantrell Associate Professor of Religion and College Chaplain, commends Garrett for the effort she put forth to win the Award.
“Students put an enormous amount of work into learning the Westminster Confession. The original essay then demonstrates the ability to go beyond memorization to careful analysis and thoughtful application,” Axtell says. “Laura’s essay was judged one of the two best in the nation. It is a significant achievement, and I have no doubt there will be many more as Laura completes her work at Centre and moves on to divinity school.”
For the 2012 award, applicants were asked to select a question-answer pair in the Westminster Catechism that speaks most directly to the PC(USA) today and explain why.
“I chose the question-answer pair 90: ‘How is the Word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation? Answer: That the Word may become effectual to salvation we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer; receive it with faith and love; lay it up in our hearts; and practice it in our lives,’” Garrett says.
“I said that different factions of the Church—such as those opposed to gay marriage and those in favor of it—should concentrate on listening to each other and reading the Scripture together, rather than always using different methods of reading Scripture,” Garrett continues. “I also said that the Church needs to concentrate on reading the Scripture in order to keep young people active in their congregations.”
The readers of the essays called Garrett’s and Lewis’ “the best of 2012,” saying they were “timely reflections on divisions in the church.”
The Samuel Robinson Award is open to PC(USA) juniors or seniors at Presbyterian-related colleges and universities. The Award was created from a gift made in 1956 from the General Assembly, Princeton Theological Seminary, McCormick Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. Winners of the award receive a prize from $2,500 to $5,000.
Garrett’s essay will be published online in the near future, and an article about her and the other winners will be featured in the August issue of Presbyterians Today.