Friday, January 30, 2015


Duke Divinity School will host a conference Feb. 20-21 on “Responsible Outreach: The Church in Mission.” The conference, which is aimed at pastors and students, will address how local churches can approach outreach efforts in a theologically and ethically responsible way.

The conference will feature experts in missions and outreach including United Methodist Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of North Carolina; Bishop Peter Witbooi and the Rev. Sikawu Makubalo, both of Johannesburg, South Africa; and Joseph Mann, adjunct professor of parish work at the Divinity School.

Speakers will discuss how churches can navigate the complexities of race, socioeconomics, culture, and community histories to fulfill their mission of transforming the world for the sake of Jesus Christ.

“As pastors, future pastors, and members of the church, we’re called to reach out to the world around us, but outreach efforts aren’t always done in a responsible way,” said Allen Stanton M.Div.'15, the lead organizer of the event. “There are times when churches have gone into communities with well intentioned efforts and actually ended up harming communities or reinforcing harmful practices. With this conference, we hope to name and address some of these issues.”

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

The conference is co-sponsored by Thriving Rural Communities, the Center for Reconciliation, the Office of Student Life, and the Divinity Student Council, all at the Divinity School; Duke Chapel; and the Western North Carolina Conference of the UMC.