Pastors and church leaders will explore strategies for confronting and dismantling bias and hate in their cultural contexts at this year’s Convocation & Pastors’ School at Duke Divinity School Oct. 9-10.
Titled "We Have the Power: Dismantling Bias and Hate," the event will feature lectures and workshops from pastors, scholars, activists, and organizers including Amy Butler of New York’s Riverside Church; Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC); Michael-Ray Mathews of the PICO National Network; and Associate Professor of Religion and Society and Black Church Studies Valerie Cooper of Duke Divinity School. The Rev. William H. Lamar IV, pastor of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. will preach at the daily worship services.
Cooper will deliver the opening James A. Gray Lecture on "Segregated Sundays: Why the Most Diverse Nation on Earth Still Has the Most Racially-Segregated Worship." Cooper was the first African-American woman to earn tenure at Duke Divinity School and has published on African-American evangelicals and co-authored an essay on the roles of religion and race in the election of President Barack Obama.
Rev. Butler will offer the closing Franklin S. Hickman Lecture, Be in the World … And Love It.” Butler, who began her ministry career as the director of a homeless shelter in New Orleans, is today the first woman to serve as senior minister at the Riverside Church, which was founded in 1920 by philanthropist John D. Rockerfeller and pastor/theologian Harry Emerson Fosdick. Her memoir is due to be published by Penguin Random House in February.
On Monday afternoon, Brooks will address "Embracing Justice as a Healing Balm." Brooks’s career has focused on engaging groups and communities on issues of diversity and justice, including SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance program. She most recently helped write the organization’s Civil Rights Activity Book.
An ordained American Baptist minister, Rev. Mathews meets with clergy across the country engaged in faith-based organizing to build collaborative solutions to community problems. He will present Tuesday morning on "Trouble the Water: Disrupting Empire, Cultivating Beloved Community."
Rev. Lamar, who will preach at the opening and closing services, is the former managing director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School and was recently featured in The Washington Post for his activism for public health in the black community. He is working to complete his Ph.D. in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Ind.
The speakers, along with other leaders and scholars, will also present small-group workshops. Topics include sanctuary churches, asset-based community development, the ministry of reconciliation, engaging with Muslims, worship as resistance, and liberation theology. Divinity School Dean Elaine Heath will lead a session on her forthcoming text, Five Means of Grace.
Discounted registration is available through Aug. 31, and online registration is open until Sept. 22. Registration at full price will be available at the door. Discounts are also available for active students at Duke or other institutions, first-year seminary graduates, and retired pastors. The Duke Endowment (TDE) is providing subsidized rates for pastors serving in TDE-funded churches.