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Bronxville's Gathering Of Friends Names Community Champion

The Rev. David Benke has been selected as this year's Gathering of Friends Community Champion Award. He will be celebrated during the event on April 8.
The Rev. David Benke has been selected as this year's Gathering of Friends Community Champion Award. He will be celebrated during the event on April 8. Photo Credit: Gathering of Friends

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- The Rev. David H. Benke, recently retired president and bishop of the Atlantic District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, has been chosen as this year’s receiver of the Gathering of Friends Community Champion Award, which he will receive at an event hosted by Bronxville's Village Lutheran Church and The Chapel School.

Benke will be honored on Friday, April 8, at Glen Island Harbour Club during the Gathering of Friends.

The event will include a premier auction, dinner and dancing to celebrate the Chapel School and Village Lutheran Church and its role in the life of the community.

The Rev. Robert Hartwell, senior pastor of the Village Lutheran Church, described a Community Champion as “someone in Village Lutheran Church, The Chapel School or Concordia community that we look up to, has made great strides for our mission and who inspires us to our highest ideals. Dr. Benke has been a wonderful friend to our church and school. He is also well-respected for his tireless efforts for affordable housing in East New York and disaster response following Sept. 11 and Hurricane Sandy.”

Benke is the recently retired president and bishop of the Atlantic District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, having represented the eastern half of New York state and its 2.5 million members from 1991 to 2015.

In 2001, following the events of Sept. 11, Benke co-founded Lutheran Disaster Response of New York, which provided $20 million to immigrants and others victimized by the terrorist attacks. In 2012, following Superstorm Sandy, Benke led recovery efforts along affected coastal areas of Far Rockaway. He has also helped initiate the Nehemiah Plan, which has led to over 4,000 single-family homes being built on formerly ravaged inner-city land.

In areas of civic concern, Benke serves on the board of the Protestant Chapel at Kennedy Airport, is a founding board member of Pregnancy Help Inc.; the board of Mill Neck School for the Deaf on Long Island; and the board of Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation.

For more information about the event, or to purchase tickets, visit www.gathering-of-friends.org .

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