A Remarkable Advocate for Peace & Justice
Vincent L. Hawkinson was a remarkable leader who fearlessly addressed oppression and inequality in all its forms. As pastor of Grace University Lutheran Church in Minneapolis for more than 30 years, Rev. Hawkinson believed it was the duty of religious leaders to stand up and speak out against injustices and violence in the world.
Upon his retirement in 1988, members of his congregation founded the Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation to perpetuate the tireless spirit of this advocate for justice. Effective March 28, 2017, the Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace and Justice will be the Hawkinson Fund at Grace University Lutheran Church. The Fund keeps his dream alive by recognizing those who have made long-term contributions to the causes of peace and justice with the Hawkinson Honorary Award, and by encouraging students who have demonstrated a commitment to peace and justice with the Hawkinson Scholarship.
During his 30-plus years of service to Grace University Lutheran Church, Rev. Hawkinson served his parishioners with exemplary compassion and care. Never losing sight of the world and its pain, he continually reminded his people of their responsibility to respond to the suffering of society. He was outspoken against oppression and inequality in all its forms.
We’ve got to go out and wage peace! The world is waiting for it.”
— Rev. Vincent L. Hawkinson
Video: The History of the Hawkinson Foundation/Fund
Rev. Hawkinson believed it was the duty of religious leaders to speak up and act against injustices and violence in the world. He marched in the South during the Civil Rights movement. Later, during the war in Vietnam, he was a vigorous opponent to the war effort and openly voiced his views. He urged fellow pastors and the church at large to stake a stand against the war, but, as he said later, most of the time he felt very much alone.
A son of Swedish Lutheran immigrants, Rev. Hawkinson was born in 1915 and grew up on a farm near Taylors Falls, MN. He graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and eventually enrolled in Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, IL, graduating in 1944 — the same year he married Gloria Lindgren.
Rev. Hawkinson served in a number of churches on the East Coast before being called by the Lutheran World Federation to help settle European refugees in the aftermath of World War II. In 1952, he and Gloria returned to the United States, where his pastorates included church in Brooklyn, NY that he helped to integrate during the 1950s.
The peace and justice movement centers around folks, known and unknown, who stand for something great and grand beyond themselves. And our world needs them.”
— Rev. Vincent L. Hawkinson
In 1956, Rev. Hawkinson was called to Grace University Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, where he served until he retired in 1988. He continued to minister at several other Lutheran churches after his retirement from Grace. He died in 2001 at the age of 86. Through the Fund, his presence remains and his witness endures.