Sunday, October 9, 2022 (All day) to Tuesday, October 11, 2022 (All day)
Page Auditorium (Map)
Stacey Tompkins

The 2022 Convocation & Pastors’ School will be in-person on Duke University's campus. This year, the conference will kick off at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 9 with a special session of a live recording of Kate Bowler's Everything Happens podcast. The annual Convocation & Pastors’ School is an intensive multi-day conference that offers lectures, worship, alumni gatherings, and seminars for Christian leaders of all traditions. Led by scholars and practitioners from Duke University and beyond, this event is a cooperative endeavor with the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church, The Duke Endowment, and Duke Divinity School. For clergy who have coverage for Sunday morning, we encourage you to consider starting your 2022 Convocation & Pastors' School experience by worshiping at Duke Chapel where Bishop Peter Storey will be preaching. Bishop Storey will be leading the Tuesday, October 11 morning plenary session.

 

2022 Theme

Creativity & Courage logo

What does it mean to claim and practice faithful hope in the wake, or in the midst, of profound disturbance in the church, society, and our personal lives? During the 2022 Convocation & Pastors' School, Creativity & Courage: From Trauma to Tough Hope, our presenters—professional dancers, visual artists, musicians, and scholars—will guide us in facing brokenness and sin honestly, even as they offer insight, encouragement, challenge, and glimpses of "the beauty of holiness."

 

Speakers

Kate Bowler
NY Times Best Selling Author & Associate Professor of Christian History, Duke Divinity School

Kate Bowler, Ph.D. is a three-time New York Times bestselling author, podcast host, and an Associate Professor of American Religious History atKate Bowler Duke University. She studies the cultural stories we tell ourselves about success, suffering, and whether (or not) we’re capable of change. She is the author of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel and The Preacher’s Wife: The Precarious Power of Evangelical Women Celebrities. After being unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at age 35, she penned the New York Times bestselling memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason (and Other Lies I’ve Loved), No Cure For Being Human (and Other Truths I Need to Hear), and her latest written with her co-producer, Jessica Richie, Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection. Kate hosts the Everything Happens podcast where, in warm, insightful, often funny conversations, she talks with people like Malcolm Gladwell and Anne Lamott about what they’ve learned in difficult times. She lives in Durham, North Carolina with her family and continues to teach do-gooders at Duke Divinity School.

 

Elizabeth Gilbert
New York Times Selling Author

In her critically acclaimed novels and immensely popular works of nonfiction, Elizabeth Gilbert expands our understanding of creativity, Elizabeth Gilbert credit Timothy Greenfield-Sanders 2018spirituality, and love. Gilbert’s memoir, Eat Pray Love, the #1 New York Times bestseller, famously chronicled the year Gilbert spent traveling the world after a shattering divorce. Following Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert wrote Committed: A Love Story, a meditation on marriage as a socio-historical institution. Gilbert’s bestselling nonfiction treatise, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, unpacks her own generative process and shares her wise, witty insights into the mysteries of curiosity and inspiration. Her latest bestseller is the novel City of Girls. Starting as a magazine journalist, she wrote articles published in Harper’s Bazaar, Spin, The New York Times Magazine, and GQ. Gilbert was a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and her work was anthologized in Best American Writing 2001. Gilbert is also the founder and host of The Onward Book Club, which serves to spotlight, promote, celebrate, and uplift the work of Black female authors. She divides her time between New York City and New Jersey.

 

Peter Storey
Retired Bishop and former President of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA), and of the South African Council of Churches (SACC)

Peter Storey is a South African-born pastor who was the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) and PresidentPeter Storey of the South African Council of Churches during his nation’s struggle for freedom. As a pastor, activist, and church leader he worked alongside (then) Bishop Desmond Tutu in confronting the apartheid regime and pastoring its victims. Storey was chaplain to Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners on Robben Island. He integrated his churches in Cape Town and Johannesburg and they became centers of holistic ministry and anti-apartheid protest. He launched South Africa’s first telephone-based crisis intervention centers, initiated the Gun-Free South Africa movement, and was the founding editor of the MCSA newspaper Dimension. Before his nation’s first democratic election Storey was a Chairperson of the National Peace Accord intervening in political violence and afterward was appointed by President Mandela to help select the nation’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In retirement, he taught at Duke Divinity School for seven years and is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Practice of Christian Ministry. Storey returned to South Africa in 2006 to birth the new Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary there. He has preached and lectured in more than 150 cities around the world and in 2007 Duke University conferred on him a Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa. Storey's memoir Protest at Midnight – Ministry to a Nation Torn Apart was released this year in the USA.

 

Makoto Fujimura
Contemporary Artist and Author

Makoto Fujimura is a leading contemporary artist whose process-driven, refractive “slow art” has been described by David Brooks of theNew York Times as “a small rebellion against the quickening of time.” Fujimura is the author of Art+Faith: A Theology of Making out of Yale Press. Fujimura graduated from Bucknell University, then studied in a traditional Japanese painting doctorate program at Tokyo University of the Arts. His bicultural arts education led his style towards a fusion between fine art and abstract expressionism, together with the traditional Japanese art of Nihonga and Kacho-ga. Fujimura’s art has been featured widely in galleries and museums around the world and is collected by notable collections including The Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, The Huntington Library, and Tikotin Museum in Israel. His art is represented by Artrue International in Asia and has been exhibited at various venues. The American Academy of Religion named Fujimura as its 2014 “Religion and the Arts” award recipient. This award is presented annually to professional artists who have made significant contributions to the relationship between art and religion, both for the academy and the broader public. He is a recipient of four Doctor of Arts Honorary Degrees, from Belhaven University (2011), Biola University (2012), Cairn University (2014), and Roanoke College (2015).

 

Freddie Moore
Rehearsal Director and Faculty Advisor in the Professional Division at The Ailey School and Founder of Footprints Dance Company and Liturgical Dance Institute

A native of Jersey City, NJ, Freddie Moore’s professional career as a dancer, master teacher, and choreographer began with his formal Freddie Mooredance training at The Ailey School.  After graduating from the school’s certificate and scholarship programs, he went on to be a featured artist with Ailey II, Donald Byrd/The Group, Forces of Nature, Gallman’s Newark Dance Theater, and Blue Mercury Dancing Company. During his distinguished 36-year career, Moore has amassed credits in musicals, national and international television shows, music videos, and documentaries. The Freddie Moore Ministries was established in 2007 and includes the Footprints Dance Company and the Liturgical Dance Institute. A noted Master of the Modern Horton technique, Moore is currently a faculty member at The Ailey School and conducts artist-in-residence workshops, has developed a performing arts curriculum for schools, and works with churches around the world to develop liturgical dance ministries. His choreography, which has been ministered in Europe, Asia, South Africa, the Middle East, South America, the Caribbean, and the United States, has received national and international recognition as a major choreographer and master teacher.

 

Ellen Davis
Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School

The author of 11 books and many articles, Professor Davis's research interests focus on how biblical interpretation bears on the life of faith communities and their response to urgent public issues, particularly the ecological crisis and interfaith relations. Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible (Cambridge University Press, 2009), integrates biblical studies with a critique of industrial agriculture and food production. Biblical Prophecy: Perspectives for Christian Theology, Discipleship and Ministry (Westminster John Knox, 2014), explores the prophetic role and word across both Testaments of the Christian Bible. Her most recent books are Preaching the Luminous Word (Eerdmans, 2016), a collection of her sermons and essays, and Opening Israel’s Scriptures (Oxford, 2019), a comprehensive theological reading of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

A lay Episcopalian, she has long been active as a theological consultant within the Anglican Communion. Her current work explores the arts as modes of scriptural interpretation.

 

Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet

Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet is a professional dance company comprised of artist-theologians whose goal is to create spaces where art and faith can flourish. Ekklesia's diverse repertory utilizes a full spectrum of emotional and physical vocabulary while addressing issues such as poverty, inequality, and human suffering. Ekklesia is based in Middletown, Connecticut at the Church of the Holy Trinity. Morley Van Yperen is the Theologian in Residence. Elisa Schroth is the Artistic Director. Kwamena Blankson is the Poet in Residence.

Seminars

The seminars offered during Convocation & Pastors' School are a wonderful opportunity to enjoy small group learning with Duke Divinity faculty, guest lecturers, and other attendees. Participants who attend the seminars and all plenary lectures will receive one Continuing Education Unit (CEU). When registering, participants will have the opportunity to choose one seminar for each day for a total of two seminars.

Seminars Offered on Monday, October 10

The Bible, Spring of Living Water
Stephen Chapman, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Duke Divinity School

Stuck? Feeling like you need a fresh approach to the Bible? Come learn about “the turn to the book,” a cutting-edge development in biblical scholarship with creative potential to transform teaching and preaching in the church. Greater attention to the literary shape and function of the biblical books can reawaken congregations to discipleship and mission with newfound conviction and hope. Familiar lectionary texts will serve as examples.

Future of ‘First Churches’
Kenneth H. Carter, Resident Bishop of the Florida and Western North Carolina Conferences
Audrey Warren, Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church, Miami, FL

There are many "First Churches" established as geographical and influential centers of their towns. With shifts in attendance and demographics, these "First Churches" are at a crossroads. In this workshop, we will discuss tools and concepts clergy and laity at these "First Churches" can use to discern how to move together into the future.

Embodying Prayer: An Invitation to Experience Scripture with the Whole Self—Body, Mind, and Spirit
Morely van Yperen, founding member and Theologian in Residence of Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet
Paiter van Yperen, Dancer and student at Alvin Ailey School of Dance

In this workshop participants will engage with scripture through observing dance, reading the text, and learning embodied practices to engage the text through somatic experiences. By accepting the invitation to engage the scripture with the body as well as the mind and spirit, participants will experience practices that will connect their bodies with their understanding of the text. It is our belief that dance and movement open for us new ways of knowing and so “remember” aspects of our life as human beings that have been disconnected in our modern age – specifically our body/mind connection in our understanding of Imago Dei as well as an ability to discern the body of Christ.

Exilic Hope in the Climate Crisis
Jerusha Matson Neal, Assistant Professor of Homiletics, Duke Divinity School

One of the hidden reasons pastors avoid preaching about the climate crisis is the breadth and depth of the questions it surfaces. These questions are less about policy and more about our deepest theological convictions. They are questions of human purpose, Christian hope, and the character of God. The biblical text is not afraid of such questions. This workshop will lift up the scriptural witness of God's exiled people as a model for preaching exilic hope in the face of ecological loss.

Leading with Hope in Rural Communities
Brad Thie, Director, Thriving Rural Communities Initiative, Duke Divinity School

Rural and small town churches and non-profits are leading with hope in their communities. Hopeful leadership is theologically grounded and practical.  We will discuss a robust theology and practice of hope and share examples of hope-full ministries that are transforming local communities.

Ministry for the Beloved Community: Making Space, Practical Tools, and Lessons Learned
Bruce Grady, Director of NC Thrives for the Ormond Center, Duke Divinity School
John Parker, Senior Fellow, Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State

As faith leaders, whether clergy or laity, we are called to nurture the vision of the Kin-dom of God into a real version of the beloved community, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Within our congregations and communities, we bridge and connect across social divides as we encounter cultural polarizations, economic uncertainties, and multiple pandemics. Grady and Parker will share vocational experiences, scriptural reflections, lessons learned, and practical tools through a timely and highly interactive discussion around ministry in multiracial, multicultural, intergenerational, multi-sectoral, and interfaith contexts. Ideally, this workshop will demonstrate how to create space for storytelling, mutual learning, empowerment, and support for cross-& multicultural ministries for racial equity, restorative justice, and community development.

Preaching and Listening to Sermons
Will Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School

Will Willimon shares hopeful insights he gained from writing his popular book on preaching, Listeners Dare: Listening for God in the Sermon. In his fifth decade of preaching and teaching preaching, Dr. Willimon will discuss how preaching is changing and how can preachers can improve their proclamation of the gospel.

Seeing the Sacred Story: Visual Art and Scriptural Imaginations
Ellen Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke Divinity School
J. Ross Wagner, Associate Professor of New Testament

The workshop will be in a “walk and talk” format, as we view the art of Margaret Adams Parker and other contemporary artists who represent scriptural texts in visual forms. We will consider visual art as a vital source of theological insight for preachers, teachers, and all readers of the biblical story – no less essential today than in centuries past.


Unity in Christ: Reading the Psalms with Augustine
J. Warren Smith, Professor of Historical Theology, Duke Divinity School

Dr. Smith's work is primarily focused on patristic theology and he is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. Dr. Smith has a passion for the work of Augustine and is gifted at connecting this passion with those engaged in the ministry of the local church.

Who Is Supporting Your Ministry?
Thad Austin, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Congregational Engagement at the Ormond Center, Duke Divinity School

Ministry can be hard. Thankfully, help is available. Like Aaron and Hur who lifted the arms of Moses during battle (Ex. 17), individuals and organizations are called to support the needs of ministry professionals. This interactive workshop examines groundbreaking national research to uncover what support is available for clergy and how it can be improved. We will pay particular attention to clergy retreats, discussing what's available, what to look for, and where they are located.

Seminars Offered on Tuesday, October 11

The Bible, Spring of Living Water
Stephen Chapman, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Duke Divinity School

Stuck? Feeling like you need a fresh approach to the Bible? Come learn about “the turn to the book,” a cutting-edge development in biblical scholarship with creative potential to transform teaching and preaching in the church. Greater attention to the literary shape and function of the biblical books can reawaken congregations to discipleship and mission with newfound conviction and hope. Familiar lectionary texts will serve as examples.


Desmond Tutu as Public Theologian: Lessons in Courage and Hope from South Africa’s ‘Arch’
Peter Storey, Retired Bishop and former President of the Methodist Church of South Africa (MCSA)

When he died on December 26 last year, Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu, was arguably the most widely known and loved Christian leader in the world. It was not always so: there were decades when he was hated in his South African homeland and rejected by both 10 Downing Street and the White House. What changed? Not the ‘Arch’! Peter Storey, who knew him for 46 years and worked alongside him in the most intense and dangerous years of the anti-apartheid struggle, will draw lessons for today from the life and witness this mystic/public theologian.

Exilic Hope in the Climate Crisis
Jerusha Matson Neal, Assistant Professor of Homiletics, Duke Divinity School

One of the hidden reasons pastors avoid preaching about the climate crisis is the breadth and depth of the questions it surfaces. These questions are less about policy and more about our deepest theological convictions. They are questions of human purpose, Christian hope, and the character of God. The biblical text is not afraid of such questions. This workshop will lift up the scriptural witness of God's exiled people as a model for preaching exilic hope in the face of ecological loss.

Leading with Hope in Rural Communities
Brad Thie, Director, Thriving Rural Communities Initiative, Duke Divinity School

Rural and small-town churches and non-profits are leading with hope in their communities. Hopeful leadership is theologically grounded and practical.  We will discuss a robust theology and practice of hope and share examples of hope-full ministries that are transforming local communities.


Ministry for the Beloved Community: Making Space, Practical Tools, and Lessons Learned
Bruce Grady, Director of NC Thrives for the Ormond Center, Duke Divinity School
John Parker, Senior Fellow, Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State

As faith leaders, whether clergy or laity, we are called to nurture the vision of the Kin-dom of God into a real version of the beloved community, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Within our congregations and communities, we bridge and connect across social divides as we encounter cultural polarizations, economic uncertainties, and multiple pandemics. Grady and Parker will share vocational experiences, scriptural reflections, lessons learned, and practical tools through a timely and highly interactive discussion around ministry in multiracial, multicultural, intergenerational, multi-sectoral, and interfaith contexts. Ideally, this workshop will demonstrate how to create space for storytelling, mutual learning, empowerment, and support for cross-& multicultural ministries for racial equity, restorative justice, and community development.


Preaching and Listening to Sermons
Will Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School

Will Willimon shares hopeful insights he gained from writing his popular book on preaching, Listeners Dare: Listening for God in the Sermon. In his fifth decade of preaching and teaching preaching, Dr. Willimon will discuss how preaching is changing and how can preachers can improve our proclamation of the gospel.

Restored: And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10
Freddie Moore, faculty member at The Alvin Ailey School of Dance and founder of Footprints Dance Company and Liturgical Dance Institute

This course will explore going from perplexity to restoration. How do we as the end-time church respond to the challenges of life? Can hope be achieved when faced with difficulties? Jesus Christ said, “In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Using scripture, music and movement, participants will embody creative expressions to identify with pain and peace, ultimately advancing to redemption and restoration.

Seeing the Sacred Story: Visual Art and Scriptural Imaginations
Ellen Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke Divinity School
J. Ross Wagner, Associate Professor of New Testament

The workshop will be in a “walk and talk” format, as we view the art of Margaret Adams Parker and other contemporary artists who represent scriptural texts in visual forms. We will consider visual art as a vital source of theological insight for preachers, teachers, and all readers of the biblical story – no less essential today than in centuries past.

Unity in Christ: Reading the Psalms with Augustine
J. Warren Smith, Professor of Historical Theology, Duke Divinity School

Dr. Smith's work is primarily focused on patristic theology and he is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. Dr. Smith has a passion for the work of Augustine and is gifted at connecting this passion with those engaged in the ministry of the local church.

Who Is Supporting Your Ministry?
Thad Austin, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Congregational Engagement at the Ormond Center, Duke Divinity School

Ministry can be hard. Thankfully, help is available. Like Aaron and Hur who lifted the arms of Moses during battle (Ex. 17), individuals and organizations are called to support the needs of ministry professionals. This interactive workshop examines groundbreaking national research to uncover what support is available for clergy and how it can be improved. We will pay particular attention to clergy retreats, discussing what's available, what to look for, and where they are located.

 

Registration Cost

Cost

  Early Bird Rate
Available through Aug. 31
Standard Rate
Available Sept. 1-25
Onsite
 

General registration

$125 $165 No Onsite Registration

Reduced rates available for:

  • Pastors of churches eligible for grants from The Duke Endowment. Am I eligible? (pdf)
  • 1st Year Seminary Graduates
$55 $75 No Onsite Registration
  • Current Duke Divinity School/ Duke University Students
  • Duke Divinity School faculty/staff registration
$25 $55

No Onsite Registration

Online registration for the Early Bird rate is July 1 - August 31. Online registration closes September 25.

Lodging and Access

Lodging reservations should be made directly with hotels.

Several local hotels offer special rates for Convocation & Pastors’ School participants. In order to receive these special rates, please refer to "Duke Divinity School/Convocation & Pastors' School" when you call to reserve your room. Rates cannot be guaranteed after the cut-off dates listed.

Hilton Garden Inn
Rate: $139 per night, plus applicable taxes
Call (919) 286-0774 by Friday, Sept. 9

Homewood Suites by Hilton
Rate: $109 per night, plus applicable taxes
Call (919) 401-0610 by Friday, Sept. 9

Hilton Durham near Duke University
Rate: $109/single per night, plus applicable taxes
Call (919) 383-8033 by Friday, Sept. 9
Link for online reservation
Jacqueline Curry, Sales Coordinator, (919) 564-2906

Other properties are also located nearby. We offer the following list as a convenience:

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

Access

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) 660-3400 in advance of the program.

Registration and Questions

Registration is required and will open July 1, 2022.

Online registration for the Early Bird rate is July 1 - August 31. Online registration closes September 25.

For questions, contact Duke Divinity School at events@div.duke.edu.

Past Events

2018: “Neighboring in a Post-Christendom World” Audio

2016: Who Needs Theology? Inside and Outside the Church
Featuring Elaine A. Heath, Norman Wirzba, Ellen F. Davis and panel, Kenneth H. Carter, Jr. and panel, and Brian E. Combs

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

Sponsors

TDE

NCC