Rev. Matthew Peters, Pastor at Zion Lutheran Church and Preschool in Petoskey, Mich., is one of four recipients of the 2019 Fr. John B. Zwers Award by the Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools (MANS) Board of Trustees.
Rev. Peters was nominated for the award by Mr. Travis Grulke, Assistant to the President – Superintendent of Schools, Michigan District, LCMS.
According to Grulke, “Pastor Peters is a strong advocate for Christian education and a great support for school ministry. The word ‘champion’ sums up how Pastor recognizes what a blessing it is to be able to share the love of Christ with His little ones. We need more gifted pastors to walk alongside our early childhood centers as they work together in serving the families and students on a daily basis.” According to the preschool director, “Pastor visits weekly to tell a Bible story and sing songs with the students. He will often stay and play with them afterward, as well. The students love spending time with Pastor!”
Fr. John B. Zwers was a founding member of MANS and served faithfully on the MANS Board of Trustees from 1972 until his death in 2004.
“Recognizing the critical importance that a pastor plays in successful faith-based education, the MANS Board instituted the Fr. Zwers award to recognize members of the clergy with a strong history of support for faith based schools. These individuals are able to articulate the importance of a faith-based education, have ongoing connections to the school community, parents, teachers, and students, and demonstrate support in leading the school community,” said MANS Executive Director Brian D. Broderick.
Together with Rev. Peters, three others were also recognized with the Fr. Zwers award at the opening ceremony of the MANS Administrators’ Conference at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme, Michigan on October 16, 2019. These individuals are: Fr. James Chelich, St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School, Grand Rapids, Msgr. Mike Hrydziuszko, Holy Family Regional School and St. Andrew Church, Rochester Hills, and R.H. “Bear” Berends, Director Emeritus, All Belong Center for Inclusive Education (formerly CLC Network), Grand Rapids.
MANS represents over 400 faith-based schools across the State of Michigan, including Catholic schools within the seven dioceses of Michigan, the Michigan District of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Schools, Michigan Region of Christian Schools International, and the Association of Christian Schools International.