Monday, October 8, 2018 - 8:00am to Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 4:30pm
Duke Divinity School
(919) 613-5323

The annual Convocation & Pastors’ School is an intensive two-day conference that offers lectures, worship, and seminars for Christian leaders of all traditions. Led by scholars and practitioners from Duke and beyond, this event is a cooperative endeavor with the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church. The Convocation also includes alumni gatherings.

Registration will open in Summer 2018.

Connect with us: #dukeconvo

2018 Details

Neighboring in a Post- Christendom World

Neighboring in a Post-Christendom World Convocation & Pastors' School 2018

Featured presenters:

  • Barbara Brown Taylor, best-selling author, preacher, teacher, and Episcopal priest
  • Ian T. Douglas, missiologist and bishop diocesan of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut
  • David Goatley, research professor of theology and Black Church studies and director of the Office of Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School
  • Elaine Heath, Duke Divinity School dean and professor of missional and pastoral theology
  • Cynthia Hale, founder and senior pastor of the Ray of Hope Christian Church, will serve as convocation preacher

What does it mean for Christians to be a neighbor in a culture that is rapidly changing, and in a space where many have little knowledge or interest in religion? Convocation and Pastors’ School will explore how we can practice and communicate Christian faith, spirituality, and hospitality with missional imagination, connecting with the steadfast mission of God. Through lectures, workshops, and discussion, pastors and church leaders will gain insight and energy to build and strengthen Christian community with renewed integrity.


TaylorBarbara Brown Taylor
Best-selling author, preacher, teacher, and Episcopal priest

The Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor was recently named among the 12 most effective preachers in the English language by Baylor University’s Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching. She is the author of more than a dozen books, including the New York Times Bestsellers An Altar in the World and Learning to Walk in the Dark, which was featured on the cover of Time magazine. Her book Leaving Church earned her the 2006 Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association. She has served on the faculties of Piedmont College, Columbia Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University, and the Certificate in Theological Studies program at Arrendale State Prison for Women in Alto, Ga. In 2014 Time included her on its annual list of Most Influential People; in 2015 she was named Georgia Woman of the Year; in 2016 she received The President’s Medal at the Chautauqua Institution in New York.

Ian T. Douglas
Missiologist and bishop diocesan of The Episcopal Church in ConnecticutDouglas

The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Ph.D. is the 15th Bishop Diocesan of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut, serving over 160 parishes and faith communities in the state of Connecticut. From 1989 to 2010 he was a faculty member at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., and the Angus Dun Professor of Mission and World Christianity. Douglas also served as priest associate at St. James' Episcopal Church in Cambridge from 1989-2010.

A sought-after speaker nationally and internationally, Douglas is the author/editor of four books, including Beyond Colonial Anglicanism: The Anglican Communion in the Twenty-First Century with Kwok Pui-Lan, and numerous academic and popular articles on the topics of mission, the missional church, contemporary Anglicanism, and world Christianity. Douglas earned his M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and his Ph.D. in missiology from Boston University.

David Goatley
Research professor of theology and Black Church studies and director of the Office of Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity SchoolGoatly

The Rev. Dr. David Goatley joins the faculty of Duke Divinity School in July 2018. He previously served as CEO of the Lott Cary Baptist Foreign Mission Society and as adjunct professor of Global Leadership at the Samuel Dewitt Procter School of theology at Virginia Union University. Goatley is a constructive theologian whose scholarship and practice is at the intersection of ecclesiology, missiology, Black Theology, and leadership strategy. A globally recognized missiologist, he emphasizes cross-cultural experiential learning with indigenous communities to deepen understanding, broaden horizons, and strengthen Christian discipleship and leadership formation. He is ordained in the National Baptist Convention, and has served in leadership capacities with the NAACP, the Baptist World Alliance, and the World Council of Churches.

In addition to writing articles, essays, and book chapters, Goatley is editor of Black Religion, Black Theology: Collected Essays of J. Deotis Roberts and authored Were You There?: Godforsakenness in Slave Religion, A Divine Assignment: The Missiology of Wendell Clay Somerville, and Missions Is Essential. His current research projects include leadership development informed by liberation theology, contemporary missiology and strength-based organizational theory, Black Baptist missiology, and African-American pneumatology.

Elaine Heath
Duke Divinity School Dean and Professor of Missional and Pastoral TheologyHeath

The Rev. Dr. Elaine Heath was appointed dean of Duke Divinity School in 2016. Her scholarly work integrates systematic, pastoral, and spiritual theology in ways that bridge the gap between academy, church, and world. Her research interests focus on evangelism and spirituality, evangelism and gender, the new monasticism, and emergence in church and in theological education. Heath is the author of numerous books and monographs, the most recent of which is Five Means of Grace: Experience God's Love the Wesleyan Way. She is also the co-founder of the Missional Wisdom Foundation, which provides opportunities for clergy and laity to learn how to live in intentional communities and learn how to develop missional communities and social enterprise in diverse social contexts. Her other publications include God Unbound: Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious ChurchMissional.Monastic.Mainline (co-authored with Larry Duggins), The Mystic Way of Evangelism, Naked Faith: The Mystical Theology of Phoebe Palmer, Longing for Spring: A New Vision for Wesleyan Communities (co-authored with Scott Kisker), and We Were the Least of These: Reading the Bible with Survivors of Sexual Abuse. Dean Heath is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, holding her membership in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference. She earned her M.Div from Ashland Theological Seminary and her Ph.D. from Duquesne University.

Cynthia Hale
Founder and senior pastor, Ray of Hope Christian ChurchHale

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale is the senior pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia, which she founded in 1986, holding worship services in the cafeteria of a local high school. In 2000, the church dedicated its current campus, which includes a 3,500-seat sanctuary. A native of Roanoke, Va., Hale earned a B.A. in music from Hollins University; a M.Div. from Duke University; and a D.Min. degree from United Theological Seminary. She holds five honorary Doctorates of Divinity and an honorary Doctor of Law degree. She is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and serves on the Duke Divinity's Board of Visitors.

Hale's vision and leadership led her to establish two ministries; Elah Pastoral Ministries, Inc. and the Women in Ministry Conference, Inc. Elah is a mentoring program that assists in the spiritual and practical development of pastors and para-church leaders, and the Women in Ministry Conference is a premiere national conference with a mission to develop, coach, and mentor Christian women in ministry for the 21st century.

Hale is a contributing writer for many books and publications including Power in the Pulpit II: How America’s Most Effective Black Preachers Prepare their Sermons and the preaching resource series Feasting on the Gospels. In January 2010, she authored her first book, I’m A Piece of Work: Sisters Shaped by God.


Contact Duke Divinity School at or (919) 613-5323.