Hood lecture features professor of homiletics

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hood Theological Seminary will present its annual Ruben L. Speaks Memorial Lecture Series on Oct. 2 and 3 on the seminary campus at 1810 Lutheran Synod Drive. This year’s featured presenter is the distinguished professor and author Dr. Frank A. Thomas of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis.

The two day event will feature two lectures and is open to the public, free of charge.

In announcing this year’s lecture series, Dr. André Resner, professor of homiletics and church worship, said, “Frank A. Thomas is arguably the leading voice in African American homiletical theory and preaching practice. He is the point person in the imminent launch of the first Ph.D. program in African American homiletics and sacred rhetoric at Christian Theological Seminary. We are very fortunate to have Professor Thomas come to Hood to be our Speaks lecturer this year. His lectures are sure to appeal to anyone who is concerned about preaching, the church, and the difference the gospel makes in our world today.”

The first lecture, “Keepin’ it Real: Jay-Z and the Existentially Authentic Performance,” will be presented Friday at 7 p.m. The second lecture, “It’s All Right Now: A Rhetorical Critical Analysis of Gardner C. Taylor’s ‘His Own Clothes’,” will be presented Saturday at 10:10 a.m. Both lectures will be held in Room 315. Following the Saturday lecture, Thomas will have a book signing in the Aymer Center from 11-11:45 a.m. and 1:30-2 p.m.

Thomas is the Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics and director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration at Christian Theological Seminary. His newest book is the revised and updated version of “They Like to Never Quit Praisin’ God: The Role of Celebration In Preaching,” considered by many to be a classic. 

“American Dream 2.0: A Christian Way Out of the Great Recession” was released by Abingdon Press in 2012. “Preaching With Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Sermons, 1750 to the Present,” co-edited by Martha Simmons, offers a view of the unheralded role of the African American preacher in American history. He is the CEO of Hope For Life International Inc. which formerly published The African American Pulpit.

Thomas holds a Ph.D. in communications (rhetoric) from the University of Memphis, D.Min. degrees from Chicago Theological Seminary and United Theological Seminary, a master of divinity degree from Chicago Theological Seminary and a master of arts degree in African-Caribbean studies from Northeastern Illinois University. Thomas is also a member of the International Board of Societas Homiletica, an international society of homiletic professors.

Thomas and his wife, Rev. Dr. Joyce Scott Thomas, earned their certified professional coaching certificates (CPC) from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. While they are able to coach corporate, executive, business, life, personal, or group, their most passionate areas are pastors, pastor’s spouses and coaching in the area of preaching.

The Ruben L. Speaks Lecture Series is named in honor of the late Bishop Ruben Lee Speaks, an African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church leader acknowledged on numerous occasions for his leadership and creative engagement in ministry. Speaks received the Chancellor’s Award from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Brooklyn Advisory Committee of the New York Urban League.

Hood Theological Seminary, located at 1810 Lutheran Synod Drive,  and sponsored by the AME Zion Church, is a graduate and professional school where intellectual discourse and ministerial preparation occur in tandem within the framework of a diverse community of faith.