Two of the 12 individuals who were recently identified in a Baylor University study as the most effective Christian preachers in the English-speaking world will be among the Yale alumni returning to the Sterling Divinity Quadrangle Thursday-Saturday, May 30-June 1 for a reunion at the Yale and Berkeley Divinity Schools.
The two noted alumni preachers are Barbara Brown Taylor '76 M.Div. and William H. Willimon '71 M.Div. They were named alongside evangelist Billy Graham, radio preacher Charles Swindoll and Senate Chaplain Lloyd Ogilvie and others in the Baylor study. Since being honored for their prowess at the pulpit, Ms. Taylor, Mr. Willimon and the other preachers have been the topic of articles in Newsweek and other national media.
Ms. Taylor, the only woman and the only Episcopalian to make the Baylor list, is rector of Grace-Cavalry Episcopal Church in Clarkesville, Georgia. The author of several books -- including "The Seeds of Heaven," "Mixed Blessings," "The Preaching Life" and "Gospel Medicine" -- Ms. Taylor will reflect on her position as a minister enjoying "15 minutes of fame" at the Friday night reunion dinner. She will also give the 125-year-old Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale in the fall of 1997.
Mr. Willimon, an ordained United Methodist minister, is professor of Christian ministry and dean of the chapel at Duke University. His over two dozen books include "Worship as Pastoral Care," "Sighing for Eden" and "What's Right with the Church." He will deliver the sermon at the opening worship service at 1 p.m. on Thursday in Marquand Chapel, 409 Prospect St.
Both Ms. Taylor and Mr. Willimon are past recipients of the Yale Divinity School's annual Award for Distinction in Ordained Ministry within the Church: She received the award in 1991, he in 1992.
Other highlights of the Divinity School's reunion weekend include preaching by Harry A. Brunger '46 B.D., former leader of the YMCA, and Albert M. Pennybacker '56 M.Div., an official with the World Council of Churches and a former visiting professor of preaching at Yale; and reports by Divinity School Dean Thomas W. Ogletree, Berkeley Divinity School Dean Philip W. Turner III and Associate Dean of Admissions Guy A. Martin. Panel discussions on "Non-Ministerial Careers of YDS-BDS Graduates" and "YDS-BDS Life over the Decades," a forum on "YDS in the 1970s," tours of campus facilities, worship services and class gatherings will also be offered.
The event will end on Saturday, so that participants can return to their own pulpits in time to deliver Sunday sermons.
While the Divinity School reunion events are open to the public,
seating is limited and there is a fee for dinner tickets. For
information and a schedule, contact Robert Ford, director of alumnal
affairs, by phone at 432-5033 or by e-mail at
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