2024 Alastair Haggart Bursary Award Winner Announced

The winner of the 2024 Alastair Haggart Bursary is the Rev Canon Christoph Wutscher, Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Stirling, in the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane. The Bursary Committee unanimously selected Christoph’s proposal to explore the writings and legacy of Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179) and granted him an award of £1800 to that end.

On learning of his award, Christoph said:

I have been thrilled to learn of the very generous support of the Alastair Haggart Bursary Fund for my sabbatical this summer as I set about exploring the writings and legacy of Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard is an outstanding figure of the theological world of the twelfth century. She was not only a published theologian, and went on preaching tours during her lifetime, but she is also remembered for her writings on medicine and nature and has lasting fame as a composer of music.

I am particularly looking forward to visiting a community of Benedictine nuns in Germany who keep Hildegard’s heritage alive, aiming to apply her teachings and example as relevant to the contemporary world. I also hope to visit and revisit some other places associated with Hildegard’s life and ministry.

The support of the Alastair Haggart Bursary Fund will be an invaluable aid at this time of study and exploration, allowing me to make connections with others interested in Hildegard’s example and work, and to learn from Hildegard’s legacy as relevant for the Church today.

The Rt Rev Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, on learning of Canon Wutscher’s award, said:

Christoph’s expertise in twelfth-century theology and liturgy has already borne fruit in his teaching and liturgical ministry. The opportunity to extend his studies to include the profound music and ministry of Hildegard of Bingen will add yet another dimension to Christoph’s scholarship, teaching and pastoral ministry. I wish Christoph every blessing as he embarks on this time of study.

The Bursary Committee thanks the family of the late Alastair Haggart, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church (1977–85), for its continued generosity in funding this Bursary. It is awarded annually and aims to help finance sabbaticals or other similar leave of absence on the part of full-time ministers at a stage in their life when such an experience will significantly enhance ministry. The outcomes of the projects should also be of benefit to the wider Church.

The 2025 Bursary will be advertised on the SEI website in October 2024 with applications due in Epiphanytide 2025.