Divinity School Holds Annual Convocation

Distinguished religious leaders from across the country and abroad will converge on Yale Divinity School and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale for the Annual Convocation, October 7-9.

“An important aspect of Yale Divinity School’s mission is to serve both the Church and the University through engaged scholarship,” says Divinity School Dean Richard Wood. “This year’s Convocation Week at the Yale Divinity School brings to Yale University public presentations by outstanding scholars and speakers from Africa, Asia, Britain, other U.S. universities, and our own Law and Divinity Schools. I hope the New Haven and University communities will avail themselves of these remarkable opportunities.” Dean Wood joined the Divinity School on July 1, 1996.

Key speakers include theologian David G. Buttrick; the Very Reverend Nicholas Thomas Wright, dean of Lichfield Cathedral in England; and Brevard S. Childs, Sterling Professor of Divinity at Yale Divinity School. Major lectures will also be presented by ethicist James T. Laney, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Korea; Robert A. Burt, Alexander M. Bickel Professor of Law at Yale Law School; and Mercy Amba Oduyoye, historian and leader of African Christian ecumenicism.

One of the leading African voices in Christian ecumenicity and a leader among women theologians world-wide, Ms. Oduyoye will deliver the Ensign Lecture on “Religious Issues in the Creative Writings of West African Women.” Educated at the University of Ghana and at Cambridge University in England, she has taught at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and edited the Ibadan “Journal of Religious Studies.” Ms. Oduyoye has lectured widely in the United States and Europe, and has spoken at and presided over ecumenical events around the world. She is a historian of the Methodist missions to West Africa, a commentator on women’s issues in Ghana and Nigeria, and author/editor of 14 books. She served as deputy general secretary of the World Council of Churches in Geneva from 1987-1994.

Professor Buttrick, a minister of the United Church of Christ, will deliver this year’s prestigious Beecher Lectures on the topic, “The New and the Now: Speaking of God’s New Order.” An authority in the field of preaching, he is professor of homiletics and liturgics at the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University. He has written/edited 12 books, including his award-winning major work, “Homiletic,” and most recently, “A Captive Voice: The Liberation of Preaching.” He has held 15 major lectureships and spoken at more than 60 colleges, universities, and theological schools. Professor Buttrick was editor/writer for the Presbyterian “Worshipbook,” and has been a consultant on worship to the Commission on Church Union as well as to several Protestant denominations. Prior to his academic career, he ministered to a parish for nine years.

The Reverend Dr. Wright, an ordained Anglican priest, will deliver the 1996 Shaffer Lectures on “The Resurrection of the Messiah.” He will consider “The Resurrection of Jesus: A Historical Problem,” “The Resurrection and the Origin of Christianity,” and “The Resurrection and the Gospel Traditions.” An eminent scholar, Dean Wright has taught New Testament Studies at Oxford and McGill universities and been a Fellow and Chaplain of Downing College at Cambridge University. He is author of 11 books, including “Who Was Jesus?,” “The New Testament and the People of God,” and “Following Jesus: Biblical Reflection on Christian Discipleship.”

Mr. Laney, this year’s Sorensen Lecturer, was president of Emory University for 16 years before being appointed Ambassador to the Republic of Korea by President Clinton in 1993. A 1950 graduate of Yale College, he earned a B.D. in 1954 and a Ph.D. in 1966, all from Yale. His talk is titled, “Interests and Ethics.” He has spoken and written extensively on issues of higher education and the place of ethics in the professions.

The Cheney Lecture, on “Interpreting the Bible in the Midst of Cultural Change,” will be given by Yale Divinity School Professor Childs, an authority on Old Testament studies and author of “Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture,” among other works. Yale Law School Professor Burt will deliver the Bartlett Lecture on “Reconciling with Injustice.” He is an expert in the fields of legal and medical ethics and has written widely on the rights of children, mental patients and prisoners.

Among the other scheduled activities during the Convocation is a Service of Evensong on October 8 at 5 p.m., at which Susan L. Caroselli, associate professor of art history at Messiah College and novice in the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of St. Gregory, will preach. Honorary degrees will be conferred by the Berkeley Divinity School during that event. The dinner speaker for Tuesday evening’s Berkeley Graduate Society event will be John P. Polkinghorne, president of Queens’ College, Cambridge University, England. He will also present the 1996 Dwight H. Terry Lectures on “Aspects of Contemporary Belief” in the Becton Center, 15 Prospect Street. Those talks are scheduled for 4 p.m. on October 8, 10, 15, and 17 and they are free and open to the public.

At a reception on October 9, Yale Divinity School will present its Alumnal Board Awards for Distinction to five graduates. Dinner speaker for the Alumnal Dinner will be alumnus Stanley M. Hauerwas, B.D., 1965; M.A. 1967; Ph.D. 1968; currently professor of theological ethics at Duke University’s Divinity School.

Morning worship speakers will be a United Methodist minister/physician and a social activist who works with inner-city ministries in New York and around the world.

In conjunction with the Convocation, a Continuing Education Seminar, “Give to Live,” will be presented by Douglas M. Lawson, a leader in fundraising for non-profit organizations.

An exhibition, “American Missionary Eyewitnesses to the Nanjing Massacre, 1937-1938,” will be on view in the Day Missions Library. The exhibition includes letters, photographs, and excerpts from witnesses’ diaries.

All lectures are free and open to the public. Preregistration is required for the dinners. For a schedule of events, additional information, or dinner reservations, call the Yale Divinity School at 203/432-5303.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325