Renewing the Church
Duke Divinity School
October 14, 2013 to October 15, 2013
Thanks to all who joined us for this event. Audio recordings of all lectures and the sermon from the Monday worship service are now available online at iTunesU. A slideshow of images is available on Flickr.
Vibrant Christian communities take many forms. But at the heart of each are imaginative people shaped by Scripture, working together to cultivate spaces where God’s spirit can take root and where we can fulfill our created purpose.
Join James K.A. Smith, Jorge Acevedo, Laceye Warner, and Jeremy Troxler as they lead us to look beyond narratives of declining attendance, anemic giving, and social controversy to explore how thriving Christian communities are meeting the deep needs of the world and in the process breathing new life into the church.
James K.A. Smith, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy, Calvin College
James K.A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College where he holds the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview. He holds an appointment as visiting professor of theology at Trinity College of the University of Toronto and has also taught at Fuller Seminary, Regent College, and Calvin Theological Seminary. He serves as editor-in-chief of Comment magazine and as a senior fellow of Cardus.
Smith is an award-winning author whose books include Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?; Thinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy; Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation; and most recently, Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works. His writing has also appeared in magazines such as the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Christian Century, First Things, and Books & Culture.
Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Southwest Florida
Jorge Acevedo is the lead pastor at Grace Church, a multi-site, United Methodist congregation with four campuses in Southwest Florida. Under Acevedo’s leadership, the church has grown in its weekend attendance from 400 to over 2,600 in the past 17 years and is recognized as having one of the largest and most effective recovery ministries in America, with more than 800 people involved in weekly recovery ministries. The church also runs a holistic ministry center housing more than 40 compassion ministries.
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the United States, Acevedo is a graduate of Asbury College and Asbury Theological Seminary. He is ordained as a deacon and as an elder in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Prior to Grace Church, Acevedo served as executive pastor at Christ Church UMC in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; associate pastor at First UMC in Kissimmee, Fla.; and minister of youth and children at Trinity Hill UMC in Lexington, Ky.
Acevedo was the 2001 recipient of the Denman Evangelism Award from the Florida Annual Conference. In 2007, he was named the Distinguished Alumni of the Year at Asbury Theological Seminary. The Foundation for Evangelism named him the 2009 Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church. He has been a delegate to the last five sessions of Jurisdictional Conference and the last four sessions of General Conference. Acevedo serves on the Southeastern Jurisdiction and Florida Conference Episcopal Committees. He is also on the board of directors of the Mission Society and has been very involved in the Walk to Emmaus.
Acevedo is co-author of The Heart of Youth Ministry with Hule Goddard (Bristol House). He also authored Vital: Churches Changing Communities and the World (Abingdon Press) and has written for the United Methodist Publishing House, Circuit Rider magazine, Good News magazine and Our Faith Today. He was one of three featured pastors on the “Keeping the Passion for Ministry Alive” edition of the Willow Creek Association “Defining Moments” CD with Bill Hybels.
View an interview with Acevedo on Faith & Leadership.
Laceye Warner, Ph.D.
Executive Vice Dean, Associate Professor of the Practice of Evangelism and Methodist Studies, and Royce and Jane Reynolds Teaching Fellow at Duke Divinity School
Laceye Warner is an ordained elder in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and currently serves as the executive vice dean, associate professor of the practice of evangelism and Methodist studies, and the Royce and Jane Reynolds Teaching Fellow at Duke University Divinity School. Before coming to Duke, Dr. Warner taught at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University as the E. Stanley Jones Assistant Professor of Evangelism. She has served urban congregations in the Methodist Church of Great Britain.
Warner’s research interests in the historical theology of evangelism seek to inform and locate contemporary church practices within the larger Christian narrative. These interests are reflected in two books published in 2007: Saving Women: Retrieving Evangelistic Theology and Practice (Baylor University Press) and The Study of Evangelism, co-edited with Dr. Paul Chilcote (Eerdmans Publishing Company).
She was a contributing editor to the Wesley Study Bible and has recently completed a co-authored book with Bishop Kenneth Carder entitled Grace to Lead: Practicing Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition, which was published in the fall of 2010. Warner is the author of numerous reviews and articles for academic and ecclesial audiences and the recipient of scholarly and ecclesial grants. Her teaching areas include theology of evangelism, women’s ministry practices, and Methodist/Wesleyan studies.
Rev. Jeremy Troxler
Pastor, Spruce Pine United Methodist Church, Spruce Pine, NC
The Rev. Jeremy Troxler is an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church who serves as the pastor of Spruce Pine United Methodist Church in Spruce Pine, N.C. He grew up on his family's farm in Brown Summit, N.C., and was baptized at Gethsemane UMC at the age of 13. Troxler is a former Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill (where he discerned a call to ordained ministry through the UNC Wesley Foundation) and is an alumnus of Duke Divinity School. Prior to his current appointment, Troxler served as pastor in the Channel Islands District of the Methodist Church of Great Britain and Ireland, as pastor of Maggie Valley United Methodist Church, and as director of the Thriving Rural Communities Initiative at Duke Divinity School. He and his wife, Margaret, have two daughters, Ada and Della.
This is a preliminary agenda; please check back periodically for updates. All events will take place on the campus of Duke University.
Monday, October 14
|8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.||Registration||Bryan Center|
|11:00 a.m.||Opening Session||Bryan Center: |
|11:15 a.m.||James A. Gray Lecture: James K.A. Smith |
"Restor(y)ing the Imagination: Love, Liturgy, and Cultural Formation"
|Bryan Center: |
|12:30 p.m.||Alumni Homecoming Luncheon |
Lunch and gathering time
Duke Divinity School: Refectory Cafe and Bovender Terrace
|2:00 p.m.||James A. Gray Lecture: James K.A. Smith |
"The Secular is Haunted: Christian Proclamation as Postmodern Invitation"
|Bryan Center: |
Duke Divinity School: Westbrook Cloister Walk
Project BriDDDge Alumni Reception
Duke Divinity School: York Room
|3:30 p.m.||Seminars ||Duke Divinity School|
|5:30 p.m.||Worship: A Service of the Word||Duke Chapel|
|6:30 p.m.||Baptist Alumni Network Fellowship Dinner||Tobacco Road Sports Cafe (American Tobacco Historic District, Downtown Durham)|
Tuesday, October 15
|8:15 a.m.||Morning Prayer||Duke Divinity School: Goodson Chapel|
|9:00 a.m.|| |
Lecture: Laceye Warner
|Bryan Center: |
|10:30 a.m.||Break |
|Duke Divinity School: Westbrook Cloister Walk|
|11:00 a.m.||Seminars||Duke Divinity School|
|12:30 p.m.||Lunch and gathering time|
|2:00 p.m.|| |
Franklin S. Hickman Lecture:
|Bryan Center: |
|3:30 p.m.||Worship: A Service of the Word and Table |
The seminars offered during Convocation & Pastors’ School are a wonderful opportunity to enjoy small-group learning with Duke faculty, guest leaders, and other attendees. Participants who attend the seminars and all lectures will receive one Continuing Education Unit (CEU). Please select one seminar as part of your registration; it will meet twice during the two-day event.
Becoming Church: Lessons from the Book of Acts
This seminar will explore how the church may be renewed by looking again at several of the founding moments of our life together as followers of Jesus Christ. The book of Acts shows us three kinds of struggle that the community of Christ must always live with and which are fundamental to our witness to Jesus: the political struggle, the interpersonal struggle, and the ecclesial struggle. The renewal of the church depends on the consistency and quality of our engagement with these struggles.
Clergy Health and a Theology of the Body
Considering the larger context of challenges facing pastors in the American context, this seminar will suggest a theology of the body for self care and the renewal of the church. This theology draws from some of the findings of the Duke Clergy Health Initiative, which is in its sixth year of studying the health of United Methodist pastors in North Carolina.
Follow Me: Ministering to Millennials
Eboni Marshall Turman, Ph.D.
From Facebook to Twitter, Instagram to Wordpress, there is no doubt that 20-somethings and 30-somethings are changing the world…and the church. In this seminar, participants will focus on key themes that emerge from Robert Wuthnow's recent After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty-and Thirty-Somethings are Shaping the Future of American Religion. We will give particular attention to the changing world of young adults, millennial faith trends and spiritual practices, and the emergence and ethical implications of the virtual church. This seminar will explore how younger, tech-driven believers and seekers are being guided by scripture to imagine and construct church in innovative ways–ways that sometimes aggravate "tried and true" ecclesial traditions and norms. We will consider the strengths and weaknesses of millennial approaches to church as well as pastoral “response-ability” to and for the future leaders of the church. The session will include practical discussion about the use and viability of web-based applications for ministry.
Holy Fire and a Righteous Recliner
This seminar will discuss the presence of the Holy Spirit in the transformation of thriving rural churches and communities. The Trinity, not a dynamic duo, forms and empowers communities of imaginative people who are being shaped by Scripture. We will consider practices that welcome the Holy Spirit in pastoral ministry and the mission of the local church.
I Love to Hear and Tell the Stories: Reclaiming Hope in the Face of Advanced and Terminal Illness on this Side of Jordan
Richard Payne, M.D.
Christ taught in parables (Matthew 13:10-17) because the power of stories allows one to see, hear, perceive and “understand” the experiences and suffering of others in ways that are often clearer and more nuanced than is the case with other forms of communication. Sickness and disease often unfolds in stories, and the healer of the body, mind, and spirit must know how to elicit the story and to listen and hear the narrative of suffering associated with serious illness. In this seminar, we will discuss concepts of truth-telling and hope in the face of advanced illness and end-of-life care. We will highlight the role of the pastor and chaplain in engaging the spiritual needs of patients and families and in partnering with medical professionals to address fear and maintain and re-frame hope.
O Come Emmanuel
Stephen B. Chapman
A crucial challenge in renewing the church is to reclaim the Old Testament as a witness to Jesus Christ. How can we proclaim this traditional Christian witness while respecting the texture of history and honoring Judaism as also faithful? By focusing on the Old Testament lections for Advent (Year A), this seminar will explore ways to draw upon Israel’s prophetic witness to Christ in our worship and preaching during the coming liturgical season.
Sacramental Youth Ministry
Too often, youth ministries invest the majority of their energies on developing attractive and entertaining events, losing sight of the core purpose of youth ministry: the formation of the young people of the Christian faith. Truly missional youth ministry reshapes young lives in body, mind, and spirit to reflect Christ and the Church. This seminar will empower pastors and youth ministers to mine the ancient ordering of the Christian life and traditions of the Church to form the young people in their congregations in deeply meaningful and imaginative ways.
Talking about Spirits in Contemporary Ecclesial Spaces
Attempts at church renewal and the reforming of ministry can often demonstrate a lack of attention and even resistance to the world picture that Scripture paints. This seminar will explore understandings of the spiritual world as experienced and expressed by African Christians vis à vis that of the Christian West. It will question recent idealized accounts of the growth of the African church even as it imagines the possibilities of a new vision of African Christianity in relationship to the West that takes seriously the actual conditions of Christian faith in Africa. In this process we will consider what might be the beginnings of a new theological vision of the global church, one that moves beyond idealized accounts of the future of Christianity.
The Ins, Outs, Ups, and Downs of Contemporary Worship: Practical, Pastoral, Historical, and Theological Considerations
Are you tired of cookie cutter approaches to doing contemporary worship? Lester Ruth will use his experience with and ongoing research in contemporary worship to offer a basic primer on this style of worship as well as discuss critical topics often overlooked in doing contemporary worship faithfully. Among the things we’ll discuss are: Where contemporary worship came from and where it’s going; common pitfalls in doing contemporary worship; and the essential contemporary worship: how to do bare-bones contemporary worship without a lot of resources.
The Intercessory Congregation: A Theology and Practice for Missional Renewal
What does it mean to seek congregational renewal through the move to become more "missional"? After reviewing the state of the missional conversation, this seminar will frame congregational mission Christologically as “intercession.” Within such a frame, we can see local church mission in practices rooted in Christian tradition and orienting the congregation to engage and embrace the world.
Writing and Work
How do the vocations of writer and pastor overlap and inform one another? For these two days, we will think together about what is beautiful and how to say it beautifully. Writing beautifully brings transformation – not only of the individual but of the church – and thus is essential to our renewal.
We invite you to join with friends old and new for these additional gatherings. To participate, please register for each as part of your Convocation & Pastors’ School registration. Pre-registration for the luncheon and dinner is required so that we can plan each event appropriately.
Alumni Homecoming Luncheon
Refectory Café/Bovender Terrace
Join us Monday, Oct. 14, at 12:30 p.m. for the Alumni Homecoming Luncheon – a great opportunity to enjoy a relaxed picnic meal with friends and classmates, Dean Hays and members of the national Alumni Council. The event is open to all Convocation participants and their guests. The menu will feature NC pulled pork barbecue, a vegetarian pasta dish, green salad, corn bread, cole slaw, fruit and dessert. Cost: $12.50 per person.
Project BriDDDge Alumni Reception
The first Project BriDDDge took place in 1991, and over the past 22 years, we’ve amassed many memorable experiences. We welcome all BriDDDge alumni to gather on Monday, Oct. 14, from 3:00-3:30 p.m. to meet other BriDDDgers, share stories, and rekindle friendships. Light refreshments will be served.
Baptist Alumni Network Fellowship Dinner
Tobacco Road Sports Café
The Baptist House at Duke Divinity will host a gathering of alumni and friends on Monday, Oct. 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Tobacco Road Sports Café in the American Tobacco Historic District of downtown Durham. The group will gather in a private dining room. A public parking deck is adjacent to the restaurant. If you have questions about this event, please contact Callie Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost: $10 per person.
Lodging reservations should be made directly with Durham motels or hotels.
Several local hotels offer special rates to Convocation & Pastors’ School participants. In order to receive these special rates, please refer to "Duke Divinity School/Convocation & Pastors' School" when you call to reserve your room. Rates cannot be guaranteed after the cutoff date listed.
Comfort Inn Medical Park
Rate: $69 per night
Call 919-471-6100 by Monday, Sept. 30
Hilton Durham near Duke University
Rate: $99/single per night, plus applicable taxes
Call 919-383-8033 by Friday, Sept. 20
Millennium Hotel Durham
Rate: $99/single or $109/double per night, plus applicable taxes
Call 800-633-5379 by Friday, Sept. 27
Other properties are also located nearby. We offer the following list as a convenience:
- Brookwood Inn, (919) 286-3111
- Comfort Inn University, (919) 490-4949
- Courtyard by Marriott, (800) 321-2211
- Durham Marriott at the Civic Center, (800) 228-9290
- Hilton Durham on Hillsborough Road, (800) 445-8667
- Homestead Studio Suites, (919) 402-1700
- Homewood Suites by Hilton, (919) 401-0610
- La Quinta Inn, (919) 401-9660
- Millennium Hotel on Campus Walk Avenue, (800) 633-5379
- Quality Inn & Suites, (919) 382-3388
- Red Roof Inn, (919) 471-9882
- Sheraton Imperial Hotel, (919) 941-5050
- University Inn, (800) 313-3585
- Washington Duke Inn, (919) 490-0999
Additional hotel information may be found at the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Online registration for Convocation & Pastors’ School has closed; however, we will accept onsite registrations during the event on a first-come, first-served basis. You must register in order to attend lectures and seminars.
Registration will be available:
Monday, Oct. 14
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Bryan Center
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Upper Level Lobby of the Divinity School’s Westbrook Building
Tuesday, Oct. 15
8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Upper Level Lobby of the Divinity School’s Westbrook Building
Cash, checks, and credit cards (Visa/Mastercard) will be accepted on-site; payment via credit card is preferred.
|Reduced rates available for: ||$70|
|Faculty/staff registration |
Everyone planning to attend Convocation & Pastors’ School should submit a registration form in advance, along with the appropriate fees. Your registration for Convocation & Pastors’ School includes access to lectures, seminars, and worship. We will send confirmation upon receipt of your registration information. We will then contact you in July to determine your seminar and parking preferences and to enable you to register for meals. Event fees are non-refundable.
Hardcopy registrations are available upon request. Contact Duke Divinity School via phone at (919) 613-5323 or email@example.com.
The cost for participants to attend this event is kept minimal due to the generous support of the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church, as well as The Duke Endowment and the Parish Ministry Fund, which provide financial assistance to clergy in support of their ongoing education.
Duke University is committed to providing access to programs for persons with disabilities. If you anticipate needing accommodations or have questions about physical access, please contact (919) 613-5323 in advance of the program.
In the months leading up to Convocation & Pastors' School, attendees submitted hundreds of photos depicting the ways their churches are renewing the church -- baptisms, confirmations, community outreach activities, youth trips, celebrations, performances and more. We used these photosto adapt the watercolor painting that formed the central image for the event, “The Basin and the Towel” by Michigan artist Libby Riemersma, into a photo mosaic.
Thank you for your contributions to this community art project. We hope you'll take a moment to explore the mosaic.