Wartburg Seminary is presenting the Living Loehe Award to Pastor Burton Everist for his pastoral, teaching and volunteer service in the church and community at graduation May 15, 2016.
Burton was born in Mason City, Iowa. At 16 he heard the Gospel, joined the Lutheran Church and then studied to become a pastor. After completing his MDiv and STM in New Testament he taught theology at Valparaiso University and was Assistant to the Director of Lutheran Human Relations Association of America (LHRAA.) Later he taught at Michigan Lutheran College, Yale Divinity School, and Northeast Iowa Community College.
In seminary Burton chaired the LHRAA St. Louis Chapter, organizing an ecumenical program testing restaurants for racial discrimination. Following ordination in 1966 he continued civil rights efforts while pastor in Detroit and New Haven, Connecticut. In Detroit he initiated a Roman Catholic/Lutheran parish dialog. In New Haven he led renewal of the Yale Divinity Lay School of Religion.
Burton and Norma married in 1962. When Norma was called to Wartburg Seminary in 1979 Burton took more responsibility caring for Mark, Joel, and Kirk. Later he became Wartburg Seminary’s Media Director, teaching Imagination and Theology. He produced the weekly cable program Welcome to Wartburg. He helped begin the Churches’ Center for Land and People, and, with Pastor Steven Ullestad, led in establishing the St. Mark Center.
Burton served Grace Lutheran in East Dubuque for fifteen years. He led the founding of the community’s Kids Zone. While directing the Emmaus Center for Continuing Education for the Illinois Synods he gathered representatives to establish the Tri-State Forum at WTS.
He served seventeen pastoral interims in New England, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
In the Northeastern Iowa Synod he was board member of Life Long Learning for Lutherans.
For thirteen years he coauthored with Norma the “Since You Asked” column for The Lutheran. He authored several books, monthly Lectionary Helps and produced videos for the Lutheran World Federation.
In the WTS “Seminary for Everyone” program he teaches The Gospel according to John the Shepherd. At the 2016 meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature Midwest Region his paper, John: Gospel for the Homeless, was well received. It proposed John’s purpose, “These are written that you may keep trusting Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, and trusting have life in his name” was to proclaim Christ to struggling, persecuted refugee Christians.
Currently Burton is Chaplain at Luther Manor Communities serving residents, their families, and staff. Click on the blog below for the full Vita of his service to Christ over these many years.