The Rev. David Mesenbring is awarded the 2013 Gertrude Apel Pioneering Spirit Award – Individual for his pioneering work throughout his career, culminating with his current work with Oikocredit.
David has worked as an advocate for change, a nonprofit developer, consultant, grant maker, and social justice pastor. His experience encompasses work in 25 African countries, as well as Europe and the Americas, and includes 18 months as an itinerant speaker in 75 U.S. cities.
Desmond Tutu invited David to teach black seminarians in South Africa where he gathered Steve Biko’s banned writings in the tense weeks following Biko’s 1977 murder. After eight years of grass roots advocacy back home, CNN featured David in a live debate on the day Congress passed its Anti-Apartheid Sanctions bill.
From 1991 to 2006, David led the startup of South Florida’s Seafarers’ House, an ecumenical maritime ministry that best exemplifies his innovative social entrepreneurialism. Its unusually multi-cultural staff and services grew rapidly, attracting more clients than any such agency worldwide.
As Pastor for Church in the World Ministries at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle, David was a noted preacher and teacher who shepherded a dozen volunteer-driven social justice ministries and invited reorientation of relationships, passionately sharing the experience of the global south.
David is a Board Member of Oikocredit USA and the founder and current President of the Oikocredit Northwest Team, one of only two regional volunteer groups in the USA. Founded in 1975 by the World Council of Churches, Oikocredit promotes global justice by challenging people, churches and others to share their resources through socially responsible investments and by empowering disadvantaged people with credit.