July 28, 2016 | 2:30 p.m.
By Suzanne McInroy, director of communications
Bethel University undergraduate student Stephen Evensen ‘17 was recently awarded the SCA Humanities Scholarship from the Swedish Council of America. The scholarship will allow Evensen to research history and theology in Sweden.
Evensen, from Arlington Heights, Illinois, is the descendant of Swedish immigrants who settled in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, in the late 19th century. He is the 35th member of his family to pass through Bethel University.
“Our family has long been active in the Evangelical Free Church and other traditions spun out of a Swedish Pietist heritage,” says Evensen. “My fascination with Swedish culture and politics and my personal connections have given me a desire to visit the homeland.”
“Steve has a strong interest in Sweden,” says Executive Minister for Church Relations Ralph Gustafson. “His heritage and his choice of Bethel University for his college education have played a significant role in his desire to learn more about this fascinating land and people.”
Evensen is a political science major who plans to focus his research on identifying cultural and political forces in Sweden that led to the Swedish Pietist movement and the formation of the Evangelical Free Church and Evangelical Covenant Church in the United States. He is the first SCA Humanities Scholar to pursue research related to theology.
Once back in the states, he plans to present his findings to the Bethel community. He sees it as an opportunity to learn more about Bethel’s roots as well as his own so he can apply that learning to his work and service.
“By researching the past, I believe one can find useful models for the present. In the process, I hope to be of service to both society and to my community,” says Evensen.