Honoring Dr. Paul

Honoring Dr. Paul

Jan 22, 2016

By Nicholas J. Kersten

Beginning in 1973, the SDB Historical Society has honored Seventh Day Baptists who have made significant contributions to the preservation and understanding of Seventh Day Baptist history by the presentation of an award: one of two traveling golden-headed walking canes, which have long been in the Historical Society’s archives, and a commemorative plaque. Because the primary symbol of the award is the cane, the award is known as the Gold-Headed Cane. Between 1973 and 2014, there were sixteen recipients of the award. In 2015, at our General Conference sessions, the Historical Society honored the seventeenth recipient of the award, the Rev. Dr. Paul W. Manuel, with the J. W. Morton Gold-Headed Cane.

The presentation of the Morton cane to Dr. Paul was highly appropriate, as Morton was known as a pastor, a scholar, and a teacher — three functions which Dr. Paul has also admirably filled for many years. Morton was born in 1821, and after profession of faith and completion of his early years, was trained as a missionary and sent to Haiti as a missionary for two years. At age 28, Morton became a Seventh Day Baptist. Because of his education, he became a teacher of Latin and Greek at DeRuyter Institute. He was also a pastor at both the Marlboro, NJ, and North Loup, NE, churches.

Paul Manuel

Dr. Paul is well known among our people for his teaching gift and his scholarship. Much of his education has been dedicated to the study of the Hebrew language. What is not as well known is that he has spent a significant amount of time studying and writing about the history of German Seventh Day Baptists, especially after he became the pastor of the German Seventh Day Baptist Church in Salemville, PA, in 1998. In addition, he has maintained important relationships between the German SDB church and the Ephrata Cloister and the now-defunct SDB group at Snow Hill, stewarding important parts of the story of German SDBs. In addition, his extensive theological reflection and writing (some of which is now available on his blog — http://paulwmanuel.blogspot.com) has long included a historic component. He traced the development of various theological concepts from their beginnings to the present in his continued quest to teach the Scriptures correctly.

Dr. Paul was unable to be present at Conference to receive his award, so it was received on his behalf by friends from the Salemville church and delivered to him by them. We are proud that Dr. Paul is the seventeenth recipient of this award. We look forward to honoring additional contributors to the preservation and dissemination of our history in the coming years.

The text of Dr. Paul’s plaque reads:

The Seventh Day Baptist Historical Society

is proud to present the

Joseph W. Morton Gold Headed Cane Award to

Rev. Dr. Paul W. Manuel

For contributions to the understanding of

Seventh Day Baptist history through his research and

writing about German Seventh Day Baptists

and in the realm of Historical Theology

Presented at SDB General Conference

August 1, 2015

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