Drawn Into Scripture

Arts and the Life of the Church

Duke Divinity School

October 10, 2011 to October 11, 2011


While the church’s celebrations and teachings follow a steady cadence, we continue to seek new and vibrant ways of interpreting the Word.  The arts – in their varied forms – can provide a source of inspiration.

Join us as professor and musician Jeremy Begbie, author Marilynne Robinson, professor and musician Anthony Kelley and the BLAK Ensemble, and author and pastor Lillian Daniel help us explore art’s illuminating power.

Together, we will experience the scriptures from a new perspective and find imaginative ways of expanding the life of the church.

Online registration for Convocation & Pastors’ School has closed; however, we will accept onsite registrations on a first-come, first-served basis. You must register in order to attend lectures and seminars.  To learn more, click on the Register link above.


BegbieJeremy Begbie is the Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology at Duke Divinity School and the director of the Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts. Previously associate principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge, he has also been honorary professor at the University of St Andrews, where he directed the research project, Theology Through the Arts at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts. He is a senior member of Wolfson College and an affiliated lecturer in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge. He studied philosophy and music at Edinburgh University and theology at Aberdeen and Cambridge. A professionally trained musician, he has performed extensively as a pianist, oboist, and conductor. He is an ordained minister of the Church of England, having served for a number of years as assistant pastor of a church in West London. He is author of a number of books, including Voicing Creation’s Praise: Towards a Theology of the Arts (T & T Clark); Theology, Music and Time (CUP), and most recently, Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music (Baker/SPCK), which won the Christianity Today 2008 Book Award in the Theology/Ethics Category. He has taught widely in the United Kingdom, North America and South Africa, specializing in performance-lectures.

Watch Jeremy Begbie discuss theology and the arts »

KelleyAnthony Kelley is associate professor of the practice of music in the Duke University Department of Music. He joined the faculty in 2000 after serving as composer-in-residence with the Richmond Symphony for three years under a grant from Meet the Composer. He received his B.A. and A.M. from Duke University in 1991. In 1999, Richmond Symphony premiered his piano concerto, “Africamerica,” with soloist Donal Fox. In 1998, The American Composers Orchestra gave the premier performance of a commissioned work, “The Breaks,” under the direction of Gerard Schwartz. The Baltimore, Detroit, Atlanta, North Carolina, Oakland East Bay, Marin (CA) and San Antonio symphony orchestras also have performed Kelley’s music. Among his awards and honors are the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters, and composition fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. His recent work, such as his soundtracks to the H. Lee Waters/Tom Whiteside film “Conjuring Bearden” [2006] and Dante James’s film, “The Doll” [2007], explores music as linked with other media, arts, and sociological phenomena. He is a performer in and co-director of an improvisational postmodern new-blues musical collective called the BLAK Ensemble.

Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novels Housekeeping, Gilead (which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005), and Home, and the nonfiction works The Death of Adam and Mother Country. Housekeeping was included in The New York Times Books of the Century and listed as one of the 100 greatest novels of all time by the Guardian Observer (UK). In 1997 she received a Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Convocation Preacher

DanielLillian Daniel has served since 2004 as senior minister of the First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, Ill. , in suburban Chicago, and before that was senior minister at the Church of the Redeemer, in New Haven, Conn. She is the author of Tell It Like It Is: Reclaiming the Practice of Testimony, and chapters in Anxious about Empire and From Nomads to Pilgrims: Stories from Practicing Congregations. A frequent contributor to The Christian Century, Daniel has also written for publications including Books and Culture, Leadership, The Journal for Preachers and The Biblical Preaching Journal. She has taught preaching at Yale Divinity School and Chicago Theological Seminary, where she serves on the Board of Trustees, and is co-host of “30 Good Minutes,” a program on Chicago public television station WTTW.


All events will take place on the campus of Duke University.

Monday, October 10

8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Registration Bryan Center
9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Arts Fair Great Hall (next to Page Auditorium)
11:00 a.m. Opening Session Page Auditorium
11:15 a.m. Jeremy Begbie
Gray Lecture
Page Auditorium
12:30 p.m. Break for Lunch
Boxed lunches available —
advance purchase required
2:00 p.m. Jeremy Begbie
Gray Lecture
Page Auditorium
3:00 p.m. Break
Refreshments provided
3:30 p.m. Seminars
Duke Divinity School
5:30 p.m. Worship: A Service of the Word
Lillian Daniel, preaching
Duke Chapel

Tuesday, October 11

8:15 a.m. Morning Prayer
Featuring St. John’s Bible
Goodson Chapel
Duke Divinity School
9:00 a.m. Marilynne Robinson
Hickman Lecture
Page Auditorium
10:30 a.m. Break
Refreshments provided
Duke Divinity School
11:00 a.m. Seminars Duke Divinity School
12:30 p.m. Alumni Homecoming Luncheon: Bluegrass & Barbecue
Lunch and gathering time

The Refectory and Bovender Terrace

Duke Divinity School

2:00 p.m. Anthony Kelley and the BLAK Ensemble
Page Auditorium
3:15 p.m. Break  
3:30 p.m. Worship: A Service of the Word and Table
Lillian Daniel, preaching
Duke Chapel

Daily worship is an integral part of Convocation & Pastors’ School, and this year we are honored to incorporate illuminations from the Saint John’s Bible into both our worship services as well as feature it in our Tuesday morning prayer service. Displays of this Bible also will be available for prayer and reflection in Goodson Chapel.

The Saint John’s Bible is the first completely handwritten and illuminated Bible to have been commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press, and is a beautiful example of the artistic interpretation of Scripture.

Arts Fair

Explore the artistic expressions of more than 20 artisans and craftspeople at the Convocation & Pastors’ School Arts Fair. Each artist will display and demonstrate his or her craft as part of an interactive educational experience.

The Arts Fair will be open Monday, Oct. 10, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 


Arts Fair Exhibitors

Name/Studio Location Media
Kathy Ammon, Ammon Studio
Raleigh, NC
Eileen Bisgrove, New Earth Visions
Durham, NC
Jonathan Bowling
Greenville, NC Metal sculpture
Kristen Brenneman Eno, Little Creatures Films
Brooklyn, NY  Painting, film
Chris Breslin and Jeff Crawford, Music from the Gathering Church
Chapel Hill, NC Music recordings
Greg Card
Fort Mill, SC Painting, sculpture
Susan Card, Arts the Matter
Fort Mill, SC
Anne C. Conover
Yadkinville, NC
Fiber art, mixed media, clay, painting
Judy Gibson King, Joyful Spirits Design
Lexington, NC
Polymer clay figures, fabric Milagros
Sandy Hall
Fort Mill, SC
Caroline Harnish
Fort Mill, SC Murals
Rose Highland-Sharpe
Pinehurst, NC Storytelling
Paul Hobbs
Gloucester, United Kingdom  Painting, sculpture
Charissa Jaeger-Sanders, Grace Works Studio
Lady Lake, FL Painting
Megan E.B. Jones
Durham, NC Collage
Donata Lewandowski Guerra, Bordeaux Lane Studio
Cary, NC Decoupage
Katherine Owen. Clay Dreaming
Easley, SC
Susan Pierson, Montreat Designs
Chapel Hill, NC Textiles
Amy Griffin Radack, Elder Griffin Pottery
Durham, NC
Jean-Christian Rostagni
Durham, NC Photography
Nick Strange and Meredith Strange, The Century Guild, Ltd.
Carrboro, NC
Ecclesiastical wooden furniture design
Ariel Steagall and Jennifer Steagall
Indian Land, SC
Donna Thompson, Solid Rock UMC
Fayetteville, NC
Wendy T. Wallace, Christian Message Through Art
Greensboro, NC Painting

As part of your Convocation & Pastors’ School experience, we invite you to select one of the following 19 seminars. Enjoy this opportunity for small-group learning with Duke faculty, invited guests, and colleagues. Space in seminars is limited, so be sure to register promptly.

Participants who attend the seminars and all lectures will receive one Continuing Education Unit (CEU).

Seminar presenters and topics (PDF)

Seminar Presenters and Topics

Carole Baker
Renewed By Tradition: Icons in Faith and Practice
This seminar explores the history, theology, and practice of traditional icon writing.  During Session 1, we will consider the history and theology of holy icons in the Christian tradition.  In Session 2: Carole Baker will demonstrate the ancient icon writing process and lead a meditative exercise centered on the practice of gilding. You will keep a gilded prayer for further contemplation. Baker, M.T.S.’04, is an artist and associate in research at Duke Divinity School.

Jason Byassee
Allegory: Jesus' Way to Draw Us into Scripture
Reading scripture is a matter of learning to adore every inch of God’s body. In this seminar, we will look at ancient ways of reading with an eye to learning how to pay lavish attention to the body of Christ in our own ministries.  Jason Byassee has a master of divinity and doctorate from Duke University and was until July the editor Faith & Leadership’s Call & Response blog and research fellow in theology and leadership at Duke Divinity School.  He currently serves as senior pastor at Boone United Methodist Church in Boone, N.C.

Charles Campbell
Jazz and Preaching
This seminar explores preaching through the art of jazz.  Listen to music and discuss the insights jazz offers into the practice of preaching, the shape of the sermon, and the life of the preacher.  Charles Campbell holds a Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Duke University and is professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School.  His work focuses on the biblical, theological, and ethical dimensions of preaching.

Stephen Chapman
Handel's Messiah as Christian Exegesis
Handel's famous oratorio was written to instruct as well as to entertain. Charles Jennens, his librettist, drew on the church's long tradition of messianic Old Testament interpretation in order to refute deistic objections to the divinity of Christ. By studying the use of biblical texts in this musical masterpiece Christians today can relearn the ancient art of christological exegesis.  Stephen Chapman is associate professor of Old Testament at Duke Divinity School and a gifted musician.

Jeff Conklin-Miller
The Art of Youth Ministry
What role do the arts play in youth ministry?  How is youth ministry itself the practice of a particular kind of “art”?  Through theological and practical reflection and exposure to the integration of art in the Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation, participants will develop a vision for the role of the arts in the contexts of youth ministry they serve. Jeff Conklin-Miller is the Director of Youth Ministry Initiatives at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School.

Tevyn East
Movement as Medicine, Play and Prayer
Through simple practices and guided exploration, movement informs and prompts us to articulate personal journey, to explore relationship and community dynamic, and to animate larger social and political realities. Building attention to the nuances of our experience, we will look at how the Spirit’s urgings live more in the transitions then in the destinations. Tevyn East is artistic director and performer for the Affording Hope Project, and is touring the country for the second time, presenting Leaps and Bounds in churches, colleges, and seminaries.

Richard Heitzenrater
A History of the Arts in the Church
Approaching the subject in a multifaceted way, including such topics as architecture, printing, music, and stained glass, this seminar will consider the arts historically, with an eye toward their role in the present life of the church. Richard Heitzenrater is William Kellon Quick professor emeritus of church history and Wesley studies.  Both a scholar and an artist, he earned his A.B., B.D., and Ph.D. degrees from Duke University.  

Willie Jennings
Embodying a Tradition of Innovation: Lessons from Karl Barth and Jazz Musicians
A crucial skill of ministry is to learn how to help people make productive use of the past, not only in terms of texts, doctrines, ideas, and rituals, but also in terms of past traumas, betrayals, suffering, and loss. How might we make pain (born of the past) productive, participating in the Christological action of Romans 8:28-29? Drawing on the genius of Barth and several jazz musicians, we will tease out crucial lessons for Christian life and ministry. Willie Jennings earned his Ph.D. at Duke University and is associate professor of theology and black church studies at Duke Divinity School.

Wes McClure
The Journey from Vision to Reality: A Look at Church Architecture
Church planning and design are a fusion of art and practicality. In this seminar, Wes McClure, FAIA, will draw on four decades of experience in meeting the facility needs of religious communities to share case studies that apply a consistent planning and design process. McClure, an award-winning architect, lives in Raleigh.

Joy Moore
Poetry, Prose, and Performance: The Art of Communication
Life and art have a tendency to mingle together in mutual imitation. If we consider Christianity as essentially a communication event and the sermon as an exercise in imagination, preachers can glean much from concepts of beauty and artistic expression. Explore what could occur if we judged the beauty of preaching not merely as rhythmic imagery and lyrical language but also as the formation of a community that lives justly.  Joy Moore is associate dean for black church studies and church relations and visiting assistant professor, homiletics and the practice of ministry at Duke Divinity School.

Enuma Okoro
Writing As Faithful Discipline
Writing memoirs and creative nonfiction for the up-building of God’s kingdom requires a willingness both to tell our stories and listen to the stories of others. How can writing enact midwifery, pilgrimage, and town-crier? How does reading inform the practice of writing?  In this seminar, we will discuss examples and you will begin to write your own piece.  Enuma Okoro D’03, author of Reluctant Pilgrim, is a freelance writer, speaker, consultant and workshop leader, and a former director of Duke Divinity School’s Center for Theological Writing.

Katherine Owen
Drawn Into Worship and Prayer
Physically praying by using art materials can open connections to God, especially for those for whom “word prayers” don’t work.  This seminar will use visual arts to draw people into worship and contemplative prayer, offering us the opportunity to experience several different methods of praying together. Katherine Owen D’87 is a skilled potter and workshop leader.

Tracy Radosevic
The Word Made Flesh: Biblical Storytelling as Oral Exegesis
“I've heard that scripture all my life, but it's like I heard it for the first time today!" This is a common response when people experience the Word after it has been embodied, lived and performed. Come learn techniques of spiritual practices that will draw you into scripture and scripture into you, and, as a result, make the proclamation of the Word that much more engaging for your congregations. Tracy Radosevic D’87 is an internationally-acclaimed storyteller, educator, and retreat facilitator.

Lester Ruth
Passionate, Evocative Theology: The Wisdom of Historical Songwriters
Must theology quench passion for God?  Not if some of the greatest song writers in church history, including Charles Wesley, are examples.  In this seminar, we will consider the great lyrics of the past and learn how to use song writing and song selection to wed theology and love for God.  Lester Ruth is the new professor of Christian worship at Duke Divinity School.

Tim Ternes
From Inspiration to Illumination: An Immersion in the Saint John’s Bible
The Saint John’s Bible is being written by hand and illustrated by a team of calligraphers and artists, illuminating the Word of God for a new millennium.  This is the first time that this ancient Benedictine tradition has been attempted in the last 500 years. When complete, the bible will span seven volumes, each two feet by three feet in size, weighing a combined 165 pounds. In this seminar, we will learn more about how this remarkable undertaking came about and explore Visio Divina, the practice of praying through images. Tim Ternes is director of The Saint John’s Bible.

Jeremy Troxler
Deep-Fried Word: Translating Scripture in Rural Culture
Many seminary-trained church leaders struggle with the art of making the gospel applicable to rural contexts. Drawing on the writing of Lesslie Newbigin, Clarence Jordan, and Eugene Peterson, in this seminar, we will ponder what NASCAR drafting has to do with the Holy Spirit, and why Brunswick stew is an image of the ministry of reconciliation. Jeremy Troxler, D’92, is director of the Thriving Rural Communities initiative at Duke Divinity School.

Bill Turner           
The Art of African-American Preaching
The art and tradition of African-American preaching continues to be a powerful force in the life of the church. This seminar will look at the history, form, and continuing strength of African-American preaching. William Turner earned his B.S., M.Div., and Ph.D. degrees from Duke University. He serves as associate professor of the practice of homiletics and pastor of Mt. Level Baptist Church in Durham, N.C.

Sam Wells
The Art of Preaching
What makes a good sermon? This seminar addresses the question and offers two examples, complete with analysis and discussion. We also will engage in a discussion of the role of the arts in preaching. Sam Wells is dean of Duke University Chapel and research professor of Christian ethics at Duke Divinity School.

Norman Wirzba
Imagining Creation and Scripture
This seminar examines several “portraits” of creation as found in scripture. We also will develop a “creation imagination” as a way to live better in God’s world. Norman Wirzba is research professor of theology, ecology, and rural life at Duke Divinity School and lectures internationally on themes of creation and Christianity.

Join us Tuesday, Oct. 11, for the Alumni Homecoming Luncheon: Bluegrass & Barbecue — a wonderful opportunity to reminisce and reconnect with classmates and faculty. This year, we’re planning a fun, relaxed, and casual barbecue at the Divinity School's Refectory and Bovender Terrace. The event is open to all graduates and friends of the Divinity School.

Enjoy music by the bluegrass group Maxim and the Confessors (all of whom confess to ties to Duke graduate programs) as well as the announcement of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. The menu will feature North Carolina pulled pork, with enough sides (macaroni and cheese, salad, baked beans, hush puppies, coleslaw) to satisfy vegetarian appetites.

The cost is $9.50 per person.


Lodging reservations should be made directly with Durham motels or hotels. The hotels listed below offer special rates to Convocation & Pastors’ School participants. These rates are for single or double occupancy and offered on a space-available basis. Rates cannot be guaranteed after the cutoff date listed. In order to receive these special rates, be sure to refer to “Duke Divinity School – Convocation & Pastors’ School” when you call to reserve your room.

Comfort Inn University: $64.99 nightly rate, plus applicable taxes. Call (919) 490-4949.

Hilton Durham on Hillsborough Road: $99 nightly rate, plus applicable taxes. Call (800) 445-8667 by Sept. 23.

Millennium Hotel on Campus Walk Avenue: $99/single; $109/double nightly rate, plus applicable taxes. Call (800) 633-5379 by Sept. 13.

University Inn: $69 plus applicable taxes. Call (800) 313-3585 by Sept. 11.

An additional list of properties is provided for your information:

  • Brookwood Inn, (919) 286-3111
  • Courtyard by Marriott, (800) 321-2211
  • Durham Marriott at the Civic Center, (800) 228-9290
  • Quality Inn & Suites, (919) 382-3388
  • Homestead Studio Suites, (919) 402-1700
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton, (919) 401-0610
  • La Quinta Inn, (919) 401-9660
  • Red Roof Inn, (919) 471-9882
  • Sheraton Imperial Hotel, (919) 941-5050
  • 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 on a first-come, first-served basis. You must register in order to attend lectures and seminars.  

Registration will be available:

Monday, Oct. 10

  • 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Bryan Center
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Upper Level Lobby of the Divinity School’s Westbrook Building

Tuesday, Oct. 11

  • 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m." Upper Level Lobby of the Divinity School’s Westbrook Building



The registration fee for Convocation & Pastors’ School is $110. Current Duke Divinity School students, 2011 Duke Divinity School graduates, and pastors of churches eligible for grants from The Duke Endowment may attend for $65.

Cash, checks, and credit cards (Visa/Mastercard) will be accepted on-site; payment via credit card is preferred.

Event fees are non-refundable.


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.


The cost of 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.