Convocation on the Rural Church

The Convocation on the Rural Church is an annual opportunity for pastors from the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church to join with Duke Divinity School and The Duke Endowment to discuss issues that are important in transforming rural churches and communities and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Registration is not available at this time.

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Convocation & Pastors' School

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.

Past Events

Audio recordings of the lectures and worship services held during previous sessions of Convocation & Pastors’ School are available for download through iTunes U.

2015: Body and Belonging
Featuring John Swinton, Claire Wimbush, Deb Richardson-Moore, and William Lee

2014: Life After Christendom: Resident Aliens 25 Years Later
Featuring Stanley Hauerwas, Will Willimon, James Davison Hunter, and Hope Morgan Ward
Due to technical difficulties, recordings of this event are not available.

2013: Renewing the Church
Featuring James K.A. Smith, Jorge Acevedo, Laceye Warner, and Jeremy Troxler

2012: Form/Reform: Cultivating Christian Leaders
Featuring Richard J. Mouw, Andy Crouch, Sarah Coakley, and Prince Raney Rivers

2011: Drawn into Scripture: Arts and the Life of the Church
Featuring Jeremy Begbie, Marilynne Robinson, Anthony Kelley and the BLAK Ensemble, and Lillian Daniel

2010: The Living Witness: Tradition, Innovation, and the Church
Featuring N.T. Wright, Rob Bell, Andy Crouch, and Vashti McKenzie

2009: The Next Generation
Featuring Os Guinness and Philip Jenkins

2008: For Such a Time as This
Featuring L. Gregory Jones, Janice Riggle Huie, Ron Heifetz, Al Gwinn, Greg Palmer, Larry Goodpaster, and Adam Hamilton

2007: Our Daily Bread
Featuring Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, Stanley Hauerwas, Ellen Davis, Janice Virtue, Norman Wirzba, L. Gregory Jones, and Carol Bechtel

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Duke Divinity School

Thriving Rural Communities

The Thriving Rural Communities Initiative works to foster thriving rural North Carolina communities by cultivating faithful rural Christian leadership and fruitful rural United Methodist congregations.

Thriving Rural Communities is a partnership of Duke Divinity School, The Duke Endowment, the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, and the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. It also is a part of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.

'Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus' with Author C. Christopher Smith

Thriving Rural Communities at Duke Divinity School will sponsor an event on cultivating community featuring C. Christopher Smith, co-author of Slow ChurchCultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus. He is also the editor of The Englewood Review of Books and a member of the Englewood Christian Church community on the urban Near Eastside of Indianapolis.

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Oak Church, 2100 Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC 27707

Small Membership Church Revitalization Event

Many small membership churches are in places of opportunity, but cannot seem to make any real advancement toward growth or sustainability in ministry. In the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, one charge has a unique testimony of sustainability. The Thriving Rural Communities Initiative at Duke Divinity School invites pastors and lay people to attend a weekend retreat at The Bladen Charge – Windsor UMC, Bethlehem UMC and Live Oak UMC – to experience the uniqueness first hand. Worship services, workshops and Sabbath time will resource and renew your ministry.

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The Bladen Charge UMC, Bladen County, N.C. (Map)

'Responsible Outreach: The Church in Mission' Conference

Duke Divinity School will host a conference for students and pastors to explore responsible outreach and local mission, and the church’s ethical and theological responsibility to its communities.

The "Responsible Outreach: The Church in Mission" conference is being sponsored by Thriving Rural Communities, the Center for Reconciliation, the Office of Student Life, and the Divinity Student Council, all at the Divinity School; and Duke Chapel.

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York Room, Duke Divinity School Library

Thriving Rural Communities Colloquium: 'Rest in the Storm' with Brad Thie

The Thriving Rural Communities (TRC) initiative at Duke Divinity School will hold a Rural Colloquium on "Rest in the Storm" presented by Brad Thie, TRC director. He will share practical ideas for students on navigating  times of transition, as well as how to enter into the rest of God in the midst of the storms of change.

No registration is necessary. A free lunch will be provided.

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0013 Westbrook Building

2014 Convocation on the Rural Church

Duke Divinity School will host the 2014 Convocation on the Rural Church, an annual opportunity for pastors from the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church to join with Duke Divinity School and The Duke Endowment to discuss issues important in transforming rural churches and communities, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Myrtle Beach, S.C.

TRC Colloquium on 'Understanding Your Community'

Thriving Rural Communities at Duke Divinity School will hold a colloquium on "Understanding Your Community" with speaker John Coggin, principal gift officer for the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI). In his interactive presentation, Coggin will share how to access information that is valuable for pastors to better understand the communities they serve.

Attendees are asked to bring their laptop or a notebook. Lunch will be provided.

No registration is required.

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0013 Westbrook Building

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