Homiletics authority Eugene Lowry, German theologian Michael Welker to lecture at Yale Divinity School Convocation and Reunions

Featured lecturers at Yale Divinity School’s Oct. 12-15 Convocation and Reunions include distinguished homiletics professor Eugene Lowry, German theologian Michael Welker, language and liturgical expert Gabriele Winkler, and the Rt. Rev. Trevor Mwamba, Anglican bishop of Botswana.  All lectures are free and open to the public.

Classes celebrating major reunions in 2009 are the Class of ’59 (50th) and Class of  ’84 (25th).  Cluster reunions will be held for the Classes of ’73, ’74, and ’75 and for the Classes of ’93, ’94, and ’95. The entire schedule of events is posted online.

Lowry will deliver the Lyman Beecher Lectures on the subject Keeping Time with the Word: The Sound of the Sermon: Part I, Time After Time: The Three Levels of Narrativity; Part II, Encountering the Aristotle Blues: A Jazz Homiletic of Narrative Address and Piano Improvisation; Part III, Recovering the Voices(s) of Orality. Lowry taught for 30 years at the Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City and also taught at Princeton Theological Seminary and The Theological School of Drew University.  He was featured in the Hallmark television series Great Preachers in 2000.  In the spring of 2008, he was honored with a festschrift volume, What’s the Shape of Narrative Preaching?  The Beecher Lectures will begin at 4 pm in Marquand Chapel on Oct. 12, 13, and 14.

Michael Welker’s Nathaniel Taylor Lectures are on the topic The Theology and Science Discourse on Anthropology: Part I, What Can Theology Contribute to the Theology and Science Discourse?; Part II, Flesh-Body-Heart-Soul-Spirit; Exploring the Depth of the Human Person; Part III, The Human Being in His/Her Relation to the Sustaining, Saving, and Ennobling God: Spiritual Realism in the Theology and Science Discourse. Welker has taught at the University of Tübingen, the University of Münster, and the University of Heidelberg.  Over the years, he has been instrumental in organizing many projects of international and interdisciplinary cooperation.  Since 2006, he has been building the Global Network of Research Centers for Theology, Religious and Christian Studies. The Taylor lectures will begin at 10:30 am in Marquand Chapel on Oct. 13, 14, and 15.

Gabriele Winkler’s Aidan J. Kavanagh Lecture, sponsored by the Institute of Sacred Music, will be on the subject Some New Considerations Concerning the Relationship between the liturgies of St. Basil and St. James. The lecture will be held Oct. 13 in the Great Hall of the Institute, beginning at 1:30 pm.  Winkler has published widely in several languages in a variety of scholarly periodicals and series on the subjects of liturgy, patristic, church history, and the development of the creeds.  Currently, she is preparing a study that includes a detailed investigation of the “Sancta sanctis” cycles in the various redactions of the Liturgy of Basil and of James. 

Musonda Trevor Selwyn Mwamba’s Louis Wetherbee Pitt Lecture, sponsored by Berkeley Divinity School, is entitled God of Wonder, Grace and Surprises. It will begin at 2:30 pm, Oct. 14, in Marquand Chapel.  In addition to his duties as bishop of Botswana, Mwamba sits on numerous boards and commissions, including the All Africa Conference of Churches General Committee, Transparency International in Botswana, and the U.N. Civil Society Advisory Committee.

The father-daughter team of church musician Don Saliers ’62 B.D., ’67 Ph.D. and Emily Saliers, one half of the popular group Indigo Girls, will host an evening of music and conversation exploring crossovers between the musical languages of Saturday night and Sunday morning. The event, free and open to the public, will be held in Battell Chapel, Oct. 13, beginning at 8 pm.

In 2004, Saliers and his daughter published a book together, A Song to Sing, A Life to Live: Reflections on Music as Spiritual Practice, part of publisher Jossey-Bass’s The Practice of Faith Series.  Publishers Weekly said of the book, “Musicians, music-lovers and indeed all those devoted to the ‘spirituality of daily life’ will be inspired.” And Booklist called the volume “a lovely meditation on the power of music.”

Don Saliers is retired from the Candler School of Theology, where he taught theology and worship, and prior to that he taught at YDS in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In keeping with tradition, Convocation and Reunions also affords an opportunity to honor alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally.  This year’s alumni award honorees are Bonita Grubbs ’84 M.A.R., Lux et Veritas Award; Peter Laarman ’93 M.Div, William Sloane Coffin ’56 Award for Peace and Justice; Don Saliers ’62 B.D., ’67 Ph.D., Distinction in Theological Education; and Nancy Taylor ’81 M.Div., Distinction in Congregational Ministry.  The awards luncheon, to be held on Oct. 13, will offer a special treat, as it will be held in the Old Refectory, which many alums will recall fondly.  The Old Refectory has been mothballed for a number of years, but over the past several years that section of the Quadrangle was renovated

Another highlight of Convocation and Reunions 2009 will be a 30th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Bisexual and Transgendered Coalition, which will be held outdoors on the Quad.