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2009 Convocation Lectures*

Lyman Beecher Lectures:

Eugene L. Lowry

Keeping Time with the Word: The Sound of the Sermon

I. Time After Time: the three levels of narrativity

II. Encountering the Aristotle Blues: a jazz homiletic of narrative address and piano improvisation

III. Recovering the Voice(s) of Orality

Dr. Eugene L. Lowry’s interest in plot began two decades before his professional work in homiletics. At the age of five he was imitating his older brother’s piano practicing—playing his brother’s lessons by ear. At 12, he was playing improvisational piano in a jazz band. By 18, he was preaching in Kansas as a Methodist student pastor—and it never occurred to him to shape a sermon the way musical improvisation is shaped. At that time he followed the deductively organized structure learned in intercollegiate debate. But the longer he preached the clearer it became that just as a simple jazz number turns sideways by means of improvisation, so a sermon is pulled by the power of juxtaposition, anticipation and the enabling twist of the Gospel. His first writing, The Homiletical Plot was published in 1980, and is still utilized in seminary curricula for new preachers as well as for reshaping the work of seasoned preachers. Four years later came the second of six books on narrative preaching: Doing Time in the Pulpit. Southwestern College granted Lowry’s B.A. degree. Advanced degrees are the B.D. from The Theological School of Drew University, the M.A. in the Teaching of Speech at Columbia University in New York City and the Ed.D. focusing on aesthetic epistemology at the University of Kansas. Ten years after his theological degree at Drew he was invited to join the faculty at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, becoming Wm. K. McElvaney Professor of Preaching in 1988. After 30 years there he was invited as Guest Professor of Preaching at Princeton Theological Seminary, and twice served as Visiting Professor of Homiletics at The Theological School of Drew University. Dr. Lowry was featured in the Hallmark television series “Great Preachers” in 2000. In the spring of 2008, he was honored with a festschrift volume called What’s the Shape of Narrative Preaching, featuring essays by such writers as Fred Craddock, Tom Troeger, Barbara Lundblad, Tom Long, and William McClain.


Nathanial Taylor Lectures:

Michael Welker

The Theology and Science Discourse on Anthropology

I. What Can Theology Contribute to the Theology and Science Discourse?

II. Flesh — Body — Heart — Soul — Spirit: Exploring the Depth of the Human Person

III. The Human Being in His/Her Relation to the Sustaining, Saving, and Ennobling God: Spiritual Realism in the Theology and Science Discourse

Prof. Michael Welker grew up in West-Berlin and in Grünstadt (Western Germany) and was ordained a minister of the protestant church in the Palatinate. In 1973 he received a Ph.D. degree in Systematic Theology, Prof. Moltmann having been his advisor. In 1978 he received another Ph.D. degree under supervision of the philosopher Prof. Henrich. In 1980 he completed his Habilitation in Tubingen, Baden-Wurttemburg, with his discussion of Whitehead and process philosophy. From 1983 to 1987 he was professor for Systematic Theology in Tübingen, 1987-1991 he held the chair for Reformed Theology in Munster, and since 1991 he has been professor for dogmatics in Heidelberg. He lectured at the University of Chicago (1984), McMaster University (1985), Princeton Theological Seminary (1988 and 1995), the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton (1997, 1999), and at Harvard Divinity School (2001). In 2003 he was offered the position of the director of the Center of Theological Inquiry (CTI) in Princeton. 1996-2006 he was director of the Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg (IWH), and since 2005 he is managing director of the Forschungszentrum Internationale und Interdisziplinäre Theologie (FIIT) in Heidelberg, which he also co-founded. The University of Debrecen awarded him an honorary Ph.D. degree. Since 2004 he has been member of the chamber of theology of the council of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) and judge at the constitutional court of the EKD; since 2006 he has been regular member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences. He was granted the Medal of Heidelberg University. Since 1984 he has given lectures in the U.S.A., in Hungary, Korea, China, and South Africa; since 1991 he has given numerous endowed lectures. During his commitment with the IWH, CTI and FIIT he organized numerous projects of international and interdisciplinary cooperation, research projects extended over several years, publications, especially concerning the dialogue between theology and the sciences. Since 2006 he has been building a Global Network of Research Centers for Theology, Religious and Christian Studies.


Aidan J. Kavanagh Lecture (ISM): 

Gabriele Winkler

Some New Considerations Concerning the Relationship between the Liturgies of St. Basil and St. James


Prof. Dr. (em.) Gabriele Winkler, a leading expert of the Languages and Liturgies of the Christian East, completed her studies in Theology, Byzantine Studies, Languages of the Christian East at several European Universities in Italy, Greece, Germany, France (1966-1974), and in Oxford (1974-1977). While being a Professor of Liturgiology in the US and a Visiting Professor at the Oriental Institute, Rome (1977-1992), Chair of Liturgical Studies (from 1992-2005), she participated with her research at International Conferences in many European countries, the United States, Russia, Armenia, the Near East, and Australia. She has published extensively in several languages in a variety of scholarly periodicals and series on the subjects of Liturgy, Patristics, Church History and the development of the Creeds. She was Guest of Honour of the German "Orientalistentag", Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Berlin, and Guest of the Armenian Accademy of Sciences. In 2000 a "Festschrift" was dedicated to her:

"Crossroad of Cultures: Studies in Liturgy and Patristics in Honor of Gabriele Winkler" (Orientalia Chr. Analecta 260).  Her latest monographs include (1) the edition of the Armenian manuscript tradition of the Anaphora of Basil, accompanied by an extensive study of the various redactions of this anaphora (2005); (2) The Sanctus (2002); The historical development of the Armenian Creeds: an analysis of the Armenian, Syriac, and Greek vocabulary (2000). Presently she is preparing another book-length study of another Eastern Anaphora, including a detailed investigation of the "Sancta sanctis"-cycle in the various redactions of the Liturgy of Basil and of James (to be published next year).


Louis Wetherbee Pitt Lecture (BDS):

Musonda Trevor Selwyn Mwamba

God of Wonder, Grace and Surprises


The Right Reverend Trevor Mwamba, Bishop of Botswana, was born in Mansa, Zambia. He received his degrees in law and theology from the University of Zambia and Oxford, England respectively. Bishop Mwamba later did his graduate degree in social anthropology at Keble College Oxford.  He trained for the priesthood at Saint Stephen’s House, Oxford, and was ordained in 1984 at Saint Luke’s Chelsea in London and served his curacy in the Parish of All Saints, Notting Hill before returning to Zambia where he was priested in Ndola in 1985. As Rector of Luanshya, Bishop Mwamba also assumed the responsibilities of Vocational Director for the Diocese of Central Zambia.


In 1987 Bishop Mwamba was appointed Provincial Secretary of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (The Anglican Church in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe). As Provincial Secretary he was primarily responsible for coordinating the work of the dioceses in the Province and served as Secretary to the Provincial Synod, Provincial Standing Committee and Episcopal Synod, with the responsibility of executing the decisions passed by these bodies. Bishop Mwamba’s other responsibilities involved maintaining links with governments, local and international organizations. Bishop Mwamba was created the first Provincial Canon of the Province by Episcopal Synod in 1991. Bishop Mwamba also served as his personal assistant and legal advisor to the then Archbishop of Central Africa, Dr. Khotso W. P. Makhulu.


From 1996 to 1999 Bishop Mwamba worked as assistant chaplain at Keble College, Oxford and assistant priest at Wolvercote North Oxford respectively whilst studying for his research degree.  On his return to Botswana in 1999, Bishop Mwamba became a non-stipendiary Priest and worked for five years as Head of Legal and Compliance, Corporate Affairs and Company Secretary at Standard Chartered Bank Botswana Limited. He was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Botswana in 2002. He was elected Bishop on December 11, 2004, and consecrated Bishop of Botswana on 6th February 2005.


Bishop Mwamba has sat and continues to sit on numerous boards and commissions, such as All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) General Committee, Transparency International (Botswana), UN Civil Society Advisory Committee, co – chairman of the All African Anglican Lutheran Commission (AAALC), member of the Anglican Lutheran International Commission (ALIC) and the Botswana Human Rights Centre (Ditshwanelo). Bishop Mwamba has also drafted constitutions for the Botswana Council of Churches and Young Women’s Christian Fellowship. He was a facilitator at the 2008 Lambeth Conference and also a speaker at the Modern Churchpeople’s Union (MCU) 2008 “Saving the Soul of Anglicanism” Conference.


He has lectured as a visiting Professor at the University of Ohio and continues to be invited as a speaker on Global issues as he did in October 2008 at the David and Nancy Ignatius Inaugural Conference titled; “America and the World: Picking up the Pieces”, held at the Washington National Cathedral.


Bishop Mwamba’s character is captured in Alexander McCall Smith’s best seller series of the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency: The Full Cupboard of Life, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, Blue Shoes and Happiness, and The Miracle at Speedy Motors.  He also appears as himself in the movie “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency”.


He is married to Mmasekgoa and they have three children.


*Please note, seating at all events will be limited and offered on a first come first served basis. We will try to accommodate everyone as best we can. Thank you in advance for your help and patience with this process.


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--Last updated: August 24, 2009

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