The Rev. Gardner C. Taylor, B.D., was one of America’s greatest preachers of the 20th century. The annual Gardner C. Taylor Lecture Series sponsored by the Office of Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School honors his legacy as an effective pastor, compelling preacher, and prolific author. His written sermons and recordings, with his high capacity to discern the “strange angles” of Scripture and Spirit, continue to instruct, inform and inspire. Taylor’s enduring legacy emerges from his fruitful 42 years as senior pastor at Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, N.Y. During his tenure, he faithfully and effectively served his “present age.”
Taylor's own words inspired the theme for this year's lecture series: "Attempting to Preach the Gospel." According to Taylor, “After sixty and more years of attempting to preach the gospel, the conviction grows that more is left unuttered than can ever be expressed, even inadequately.” The Gardner C. Taylor Lecture Series seeks to equip minsters and pastoral leaders with new and innovative perspectives to proclaim the Gospel with power and precision in the present age.
Join the Office of Black Church Studies for a day of worship, conversations, and a lecture to encourage seminarians, practitioners, theologians, and community partners to gaze deeply at the intersections of preaching and leading. The 2019 guest lecturer, the Rev. Gerald Lamount Thomas, Ph.D., aims to examine preaching from a relational standpoint and how it impacts the preacher’s task, in seasons of environmental and cultural disruptions.
The Rev. Gerald Lamount Thomas, Ph.D., pastor emeritus of Shiloh Baptist Church in Plainfield, N.J., is the former associate professor of preaching at Shaw University Divinity School and the university chaplain for Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Thomas received a B.A. in economics from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1976 and his M.Div. and Ph.D., from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., in 1986 and 1993 respectively.
Thomas pastored four churches for 30 years and led the Shiloh Baptist Church from 1997 to 2015. Under his leadership, the church built a 70,000-square-foot, $13.2 million building in 2005 with a state-of- the-art multi-media sanctuary, classrooms for UCTEAMS Charter School grades K-8, gymnasium, administrative offices, modern kitchen facility, parking lots, and an executive pastoral suite with a library conference room.
He also has taught at several seminaries in the disciplines of preaching, worship, public policy, and church administration. Thomas served as the national chair of Social Action on Public Policy for the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. where he assisted pastors and congregations in strategic advocacy training and civic engagement.
A resident of Seffner, Fla., Thomas was licensed to the Gospel Ministry by Dr. E.V. Hill at the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church. He authored the book African American Preaching: The Contribution of Gardner C. Taylor, published by Peter Lang Company. He is affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance, the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, and the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
The schedule of events for the 2019 Gardner C. Taylor Lecture Series:
- 10 – 11:00 a.m.: Registration and check-in
- 11:25 a.m.: Worship service with the Rev. Gerald Lamount Thomas, Ph.D., preaching (Goodson Chapel)
- 12:30 p.m.: Gardner C. Taylor Alumni & Community Lunch (Alumni Memorial Common Room)
- 2:30 p.m.: Gardner C. Taylor Lecture with Gerald Lamount Thomas, Ph.D., lecturing (Westbrook Building, Room 0015)
All participants are responsible for making their own hotel accommodations.
Local hotels include:
- Brookwood Inn, (919) 286-3111
- Courtyard by Marriott, (800) 321-2211
- Durham Marriott at the Civic Center, (800) 228-9290
- Hilton Durham near Duke University, (919) 383-8033
- Homestead Studio Suites, (919) 402-1700
- Homewood Suites by Hilton, (919) 401-0610
- La Quinta Inn, (919) 401-9660
- Sheraton Imperial Hotel, (919) 941-5050
- Washington Duke Inn, (919) 490-0999
Additional hotel information is available through the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Parking & Transportation
Pre-arranged parking will be available on the Duke University campus during the event for an additional charge as part of the registration process. Advance registration and payment is required.
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.
The Durham Train Station offers Amtrak service to and from Charlotte, N.C., to Raleigh, N.C., Washington D.C., and New York City and points in between. Make reservations in advance online or by phone.