Hood Seminary lectures feature theologian

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hood Theological Seminary

Hood Theological Seminary will hold its annual Ruben L. Speaks Memorial Lecture Series on Oct. 6 and 7.

This year’s featured presenter is author and theologian William B. Lawrence, professor of American church history at Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology. Lawrence previously served as dean of Perkins from 2002 to 2016.

Friday’s lecture, at 7 p.m., is “The Power of Faith Amid Powerful Forces.” Saturday’s lecture, at 10:10 a.m., is titled “Personal Faith and Public Witness.” Both lectures will acknowledge the significance of the fact that this October celebrates the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s actions that launched the Reformation.

The lectures, which are free and open to the public, will be held in Room 315 on the campus at 1810 Lutheran Synod Drive.

Lawrence came to Perkins from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, where he was associate dean for development and church relations. Previously, he taught at Duke Divinity School and Wesley Theological Seminary.

An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, he has held a number of pastoral assignments, most recently at Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church (the National United Methodist Church) in Washington.

In 2008, Lawrence was elected by the General Conference to serve as one of nine members of the UMC Judicial Council, the highest judicial body within the denomination. In 2012, members of the Judicial Council elected Lawrence to a four-year term as president. He also was president of the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools.

Lawrence is a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Duke University with distinction. He earned a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York and received his Ph.D. in homiletics and historical theology, with distinction, from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

His recent publications are “Methodism in Recovery: Renewing Mission, Reclaiming History, Restoring Health” (Abingdon Press, 2008) and “Ordained Ministry in the United Methodist Church.” He served as president of the board of directors for the Wesley Works Project, which was initiated by Albert Outler and others more than 30 years ago to publish the definitive, scholarly edition of John Wesley’s works.

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, 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.