The Word Made Fresh

Renewing scriptural imagination through word, poetry and music

Duke Divinity School and Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church

February 16, 2014 to February 18, 2014


Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts (DITA) and Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church present a collaboration between three top-notch artists—priest, poet, musician Malcolm Guite; award-winning folk singer-songwriter Steve Bell; and DITA director and musician Jeremy Begbie—for a fresh and energizing exploration of the arts, discipleship, and Christian imagination. These three friends will gather with members of the community to show us how to “play” within the possibilities of poetry and music, in composition and performance, to make sense of the world, wrestle with Scripture, and re-imagine Christian life. Three days of public lecture/concerts, readings, and theological discussion at Duke Divinity School and Blacknall will culminate in a final evening performance in Goodson Chapel.

All events are free of charge. This event is sponsored by Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts, with the generous co-sponsorship of Blacknall Lectures on Faith and Society.


Malcolm Guite

Malcolm Guite, known to many as the “Rockin’ Rev,” serves as Bye-Fellow and chaplain at Girton College at the University of Cambridge, while supervising in English and theology. He is a poet and singer-songwriter, and front man of the R&B band Mystery Train. His albums include "The Green Man" and "Dancing through the Fire." Malcolm has published four collections of poetry: Saying the Names (2002), The Magic Apple Tree (2004), Sounding the Seasons: Poetry for the Christian Year (2012), and most recently, The Singing Bowl (2013). His theological works include What Do Christians Believe?  and Faith, Hope and Poetry: Theology and the Poetic Imagination. His essay on literature and incarnation is included in Beholding the Glory: Incarnation Through the Arts. He is a devout reader and scholar of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, and British poets, and finds inspiration in the oeuvres of The Band, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Gram Parsons, Steve Earle, and Bob Dylan.

What the critics say about Faith, Hope and Poetry:

“A profound theology of the imagination, developed in dialogue with writers both familiar and unfamiliar, beautifully combining close reading with wide horizons” —Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
“Malcolm Guite has offered us an immensely rich work…in which the truth telling available only in poetry is brought to the service of mature theological vision. It is quite simply both astounding and outstanding” —Stephen Sykes, former Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University
“Guite, not only an Anglican priest but a poet and scholar of the highest order, invites us to this fresh feast, a summons that will widen our own worlds immeasurably” —Luci Shaw, author

Steve Bell

Born into a musical family, Steve Bell has been performing and touring since he was eight years old. Steve’s father was a prison chaplain, and federal prisoners in Drumheller Penitentiary taught the young Bell to play guitar at an early age. Bell recounts fondly, “I now perform world over because Canada’s most unwanted men invested in me when I was a boy.”

In the early eighties Bell began to make his mark with the acclaimed folk trio Elias, Schritt and Bell. Since his first solo release in 1989, "Comfort My People," Bell has released 16 CDs, three concert videos, and performed over 1,500 concerts across Canada, the U.S., India, Thailand, the Philippines, Poland, Bulgaria, Ireland, and throughout the Caribbean. More recently, Bell has performed in 26 concerts with orchestras across Canada and the U.S., including a 2011 concert with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Massey Hall. In 1997, he was awarded a JUNO Award for Best Gospel Album. He received a second JUNO in 2000 as well as multiple Prairie Music, Western Canada Music, and Covenant Awards.

With the 2012 release of his 17th career CD, "Keening for the Dawn – Christmastide," Bell displays a rare longevity and commitment to his vocation. For this commitment, along with his advocacy work for the less fortunate, he has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Jeremy Begbie

Jeremy Begbie is the inaugural holder of the Thomas A. Langford Research Professorship in Theology at Duke Divinity School and director of Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts.

He teaches systematic theology, and he specializes in the interface between theology and the arts. His particular research interest is the interplay between music and theology.

Begbie spends one semester each year (currently spring) at Duke Divinity School and the other semester at Cambridge, where he is a senior member at Wolfson College, Cambridge, and an affiliated lecturer in the faculty of music at the University of Cambridge. Previously he has been an associate principal at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and 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 author of a number of books, including Voicing Creation’s Praise: Towards a Theology of the Arts (T&T Clark); Theology, Music and Time (Cambridge), 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 just published a new work, God, Music, and Modernity: Essays in Listening (Oxford). He has taught widely in the UK and North America, and delivered multimedia performance-lectures across the world, from Israel to Australia and Hong Kong.


Guite photo courtesy of Lancia E. Smith.


Event sessions will take place at Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church in Durham, N.C., and Duke Divinity School. Due to the generosity of our donors, all events are free of charge. Merchandise will be on sale following each evening session.


Advance registration is strongly encouraged.

Sunday Morning Worship: The Rhythm of Life

Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 at 8:30 and 11 a.m.
Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church, Sanctuary

The artists will lead both worship services. Jeremy Begbie will preach.

Music You Never Would Have Known to Listen for: Lecture and Performance, pt. 1

Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church, Sanctuary

This teaching event will combine storytelling and performance by the artists, and will be followed by a Q&A session.

Free registration strongly recommended.

Dessert Reception

Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 at 8:30 p.m.
Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Hall

Free registration strongly recommended.

Faith, Hope and Poetry Seminar

Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Duke Divinity School, 0014 Westbrook

Duke students, staff and faculty only, please, except by invitation. Free registration strongly recommended.

This seminar with Malcolm Guite will explore the interplay between theology and literature.

Music You Never Would Have Known to Listen for: Lecture and Performance, pt. 2

Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church

The artists will continue Sunday night’s teaching and performance event.

Free registration strongly recommended.

AEHS Brown Bag Session with Malcolm Guite

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, at 12:30 p.m.
Duke Divinity School, 0012 Westbrook

Duke students, staff and faculty only, please, except by invitation. Free registration strongly recommended.

The Anglican Episcopal House of Studies at Duke Divinity School will co-sponsor a brown-bag lunch presentation and discussion. Guite will use his own work and the work of George Herbert to discuss “The Vocation of the Priest-Poet.”

Threefold Interplay: Final Performance

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, at 7:00 p.m.
Duke Divinity School, Goodson Chapel

This Tuesday night public concert will include performances by all three artists and will conclude the event series. Book and CD signing will follow the performance.

Free registration strongly recommended.


Admittance to all "The Word Made Fresh" events is free of charge.


Early online registration is available for all event sessions. Although unregistered visitors will be admitted at all events on a first-come, first-served basis, we ask that you pre-register online.



The event sessions will take place at Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church and Duke Divinity School. Participants are responsible for making their own transportation arrangements. Parking will not be reserved at either location specifically for this event. Parking is available first-come, first-served for a fee at both locations.

Duke Divinity School is located adjacent to the Bryan Center Parking Deck and lot. The cost is $2/hour.

Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church is located at 1902 Perry Street, Durham, NC 27705. Parking is available on Iredell, Perry, and Ninth Streets. The Duke Human Resources parking lot, across from the church on Iredell Street is also available on Sundays. A map is available. There may be a fee to park near the church, but there are also free options. Please pay close attention to the signage where you find an opening.


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) 660-3478 in advance of the program.


For questions concerning "The Word Made Fresh," please contact Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts at or (919) 660-3478.