Tuesday, September 18, 2018 (All day)
Duke Divinity School (Map)
Kaznee Phipps

Join the Office of Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School for the annual Gardner C. Taylor Lecture Series. This year's theme is Ministry and #MeToo: Confronting Sexual Violence from Black Church Resources.

The guest preacher will be Rev. Judy Fentress-Williams, Ph.D., professor of Old Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary. Guest lecturers are Dr. Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan, professor of religion and director of Women's Studies at Shaw University Divinity School and Dr. Alison Gise-Johnson, associate professor of historical and theological studies and the director of Doctor of Ministry Program at Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University.


2018 Gardner C. Taylor Lecture Series

The Gardner C. Taylor Lecture Series is named for Dr. Gardner Calvin Taylor, a uniquely gifted preacher and pastor who preached around the world. His written sermons and recordings continue to inspire with his unusual capacity to discern the “strange angles” of Scripture and spirit. Taylor’s enduring legacy is largely in his decades as pastor for Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, New York. During his tenure, he faithfully and effectively served his "present age."

The 2018 Gardner C. Taylor Lectures seek to help pastoral leaders to serve the present age in the context of sexual violence. High-profile cases have surfaced recently in the public, private, and third sectors. Academic, athletic, business, church, entertainment, government, nonprofit and other industries have witnessed public disclosures of men in positions of power sexually violating women, men, and children. While this may be news, it is certainly not new.

The Black Church has resources from which to draw for contemporary ministry in #MeToo contexts. Victimization at the hands of sexual predators is not new in black communities. Neither immune from suffering nor impeccable in response, this tradition has theological insight and practical experience useful to inform and instruct its constituency and the broader church for ministry in #MeToo contexts.


Judy Fentress-Williams, Ph.D.Judy Fentress-Williams, Ph.D. is professor of Old Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary. She earned her Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from Yale University in 1999, her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School in 1990, and her A.B. in English from Princeton University with certificates in African-American Studies and American Studies in 1984. Prior to her appointment at Virginia Seminary in 2002, Dr. Fentress-Williams was professor of Hebrew Bible at Hartford Seminary from 1994-2002 and director of the Black Ministries Program, a certificate program designed to meet the needs of African-American clergy and laity in the greater Hartford area.  Her published essays include “The Bible in Dialogue” in "September 11: Religious Perspectives on the Causes and Consequences”; “Location, Location, Location: Tamar in the Joseph Cycle” in Bakhtin and Genre; and “Exodus” in Biblia Africana. She recently published a commentary on the book of Ruth for the Abingdon Old Testament Commentary Series. A member of the Society of Biblical Literature, she is an active participant in the Bakhtin and Biblical Studies Group and serves on the Advisory Board for the Office of Religious Life at Princeton University. 

Alison Gise-Johnson, PhD. Alison Gise-Johnson,Ph.D. is associate professor of historical and theological studies and director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. She earned a Ph.D. in religion with a concentration in religion and society at Temple University, an M.Div. from the Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Northwestern University. Dr. Gise-Johnson has served as vice president of programs and resources for Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, Inc., where she was responsible for developing advocacy and educational programming related to ending mass incarceration and creating livable sustainable communities. She was also a contributing author to the New Jim Crow Study Guide. She has also served as the program director for science outreach and assistant director of aquaponics at Chicago State University. Prior to any of her positions in the academic world, she served as a project engineer at 3M Company in St. Paul, Minn. As a scholar, minister and activist, many of her recent efforts have centered on issues related to food justice, developing ministry-mentoring materials, creating resources for the moral and intellectual development of youth, caring for doctoral students as they produce real, powerful, relevant resources for communities and families, and defining the anatomy of faith-based justice.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan  Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan, Ph.D. is a professor of religion at Shaw University Divinity School, Raleigh, N.C., and an ordained elder in full connection in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Dr. Kirk-Duggan has written over twenty books, including: African-American Special Days, Abingdon Press; It’s In the Blood: A Trilogy of Poems Harvested from a Family Tree, River Vision; Exorcising Evil: A Womanist Perspective on the Spirituals, Orbis Press; Misbegotten Anguish: A Theology and Ethics of Violence, Chalice Press; Wising Up: Bible Study for Women on Proverbs, Abingdon; Violence and Theology, Abingdon. She co-wrote Wake Up!: Hip Hop, Christianity and the Black Church. Her first solo poetry volume is Baptized Rage, Transformed Grief: I Got Through, So Can You. Dr. Kirk-Duggan earned a B.A. from University of Southwestern Louisiana, a master of music in voice from University of Texas at Austin, an M.Div. from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and Ph.D. in religion from Baylor University. She has won a number of awards, including the 2009, 2011, and 2017 Excellence in Academic Research Award from Shaw University, Her current research includes theology; justice; violence and religion; music; ethics; humor; the Bible and culture; Womanist and feminist studies; faith, spirituality, and health; women's religious and leadership experience; pedagogy; rage, grief, lament, and transformation; gender theory; sexuality, and popular media as a praxeology for constructive and narrative theology.


Tuesday, Sept. 18

  • 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
    Registration and check-in
  • 11:25 a.m.
    Worship, Judy Fentress-Williams, Ph.D.  (Goodson Chapel)
  • 12:30 p.m.
    Gardner C. Taylor Alumni & Community Lunch (Alumni Memorial Common Room)
  • 2:00 p.m.
    Gardner C. Taylor Lecture with Alison Gise-Johnson, Ph.D. & Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Ph.D.


All participants are responsible for making their own hotel accommodations.

Local hotels include the following:

Additional hotel information may be found at the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Parking & Transportation

Pre-arranged parking will be available on campus during the event for an additional charge as part of the registration process. Advance registration and payment is required.

Air Transportation

The nearest airport is the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), a 20-minute drive to Duke University. Many area hotels offer shuttle service to and from the hotel. Super Shuttle Service is available from RDU airport to Duke University and the surrounding area. You can make a credit card reservation online prior to your arrival to Duke. There will also be taxi cabs waiting outside each terminal of the airport.

Rail Transportation

The Durham Train Station offers Amtrak service to and from Charlotte, Raleigh, Washington D.C., and New York City and points in between. Make reservations in advance online or by phone.

Ground Transportation

Directions to Duke University


Registration will end on Sept. 14, 2018.