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H. Henry Meeter Center: Specializing in John Calvin, Calvinism, the Reformation, and Early Modern Studies


Hugh & Eve Meeter Calvinism Awards for High School Seniors

The Topic for 2016 is

John Calvin and Pastoral Care

In his work as a pastor in Geneva, Calvin provided pastoral care for the sick, the sorrowing, and those in trouble, whether in Geneva or elsewhere. Much of the surviving evidence of his pastoral care can be found in his letters. Students’ papers should analyze the key components of Calvin’s theology and practice of pastoral care by discussing in detail at least three of his letters and comparing Calvin’s approach to pastoral care to the current theology and practice of pastoral care in our churches. What deep questions was Calvin trying to answer? How effective do you think his responses were?

Awards are given annually for research papers on a topic dealing with John Calvin or Calvinism. First Prize is $3,500 and three Second Prizes of $2,000. Awards are payable to student tuition accounts at the following colleges: Calvin, Dordt, King's (Canada), Redeemer (Canada), Kuyper, and Trinity Christian.

Research Paper Format Guidelines

Papers should be 8 to 12 pages long, typed double-spaced, and include footnotes or endnotes as well as a bibliography. Pages must be numbered. Papers must include a cover sheet with the following information:

  • name
  • address
  • telephone number
  • e-mail address
  • high school
  • principal's name
  • church (include address)
  • pastor's name
  • how you learned about the scholarship

No name or other identifying information should appear on any page except the cover. The Meeter Center will assign each entry a code number and write it on the pages of the paper. This assures impartial judging of the papers by the Calvinism Committee and allows for accurate identification.

The Calvinism Committee will judge the papers by the following criteria:

  1. Thoroughness of research, including primary sources and quality secondary sources.
  2. Coherence and originality of the argument.
  3. Quality of writing.
  4. Relatedness to contemporary situation.

Papers must be sent in on or before January 15, 2016. The Calvinism Committee will select winners by March 15, 2016, from applicants who will attend college in the fall of 2016. All participants will be notified of their status by mail.

Finding Sources

Relevant letters by Calvin can be found in Jules Bonnet, ed., Letters of John Calvin (4 vols; Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1858) Volume 1, letter 64 (pp.246-53); volume 2, letter 145 (pp. 16-19), letter 215 (pp. 154-57), letter 232 (pp. 201-204), letter 307 (pp. 384-86), letter 318 (pp. 404-408), letter 319 (pp. 408-10), letter 328 (pp. 430-31); volume 3, letter 421 (pp. 236-37), letter 432 (pp. 261-64), letter 476 (pp. 363-66), letter 513 (pp. 468-69); volume 4, letter 539 (pp. 49-54), letter 548 (pp. 70-72). Digital versions of these volumes of letters can be accessed online on the Meeter Center’s website on the “Works by John Calvin in English” webpage at:

Other letters can be found in Elsie McKee, ed., John Calvin: Writings on Pastoral Piety (New York: Paulist Press, 2001), pp. 291-332, which can be viewed in the Meeter Center or obtained via interlibrary loan at your local public library. We also recommend that you speak with your pastor to learn about current theology and approaches to pastoral care.

Submitting a Research Paper

Please send entries to the following address:

The H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies
Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary
1855 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546-4402

If you have any questions regarding the Hugh and Eve Meeter Calvinism Awards for High School Seniors, please feel free to contact the Meeter Center at the above address or at the following numbers and e-mail address:

Telephone: 1-616-526-7081
Fax: 1-616-526-7687