Divinity school to hold inaugural convocation

Divinity School Dean Bill J. LeonardThe new Wake Forest University Divinity School will celebrate its opening with an inaugural convocation Oct. 12 accompanied by two days of related events, including seminars, lectures and a worship service.

“Theology at the Threshold of the 21st Century” is the theme of the celebration to be held Oct. 12 – 13 at Wake Forest. The divinity school is the first professional school to open at the university since 1969. Classes began in the new school Aug. 25.

Divinity School Dean Bill J. Leonard will present the convocation address titled, “Not Instruction, but Provocation: Doing Theology at a New Divinity School,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 in Wait Chapel. The convocation address is open to the public.

In his remarks, Leonard will explore the significance and challenge of educating men and women for ministry in a new millennium.

“The community has participated in the founding of this school through prayers, encouragement and acceptance, and now we invite the public to help us celebrate the beginning of this new professional school at Wake Forest,” said Leonard.

Poet Maya Angelou, Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest, will also present a reading at the convocation. A reception on the University Plaza will follow the event.

The public is also invited to attend the following free events:

Oct. 12

  • An opening worship service, titled, “Take With You Words and Return to the Lord,” will be led by Phyllis Trible, associate dean of the divinity school, and Walter Harrelson at 11 a.m. in Wait Chapel. A renowned Hebrew scholar, Trible is considered a pioneer in the text-based exploration of women and gender in scripture. She is the author of the books, “God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality,” “Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives” and “Rhetorical Criticism: Context, Method, and the Book of Jonah.” Harrelson is an adjunct professor in the divinity school and professor emeritus of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. He has written extensively about the relations between Jews and Christians in ancient times and today.
  • Donald Senior, president of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, will deliver the Margaret A. Steelman Lecture, “The Advent of the Stranger: A Biblical Reflection on Mission and Identity in Matthew’s Gospel,” at 2 p.m. in Brendle Recital Hall. Senior has published extensively on biblical topics, with numerous books and articles for both scholarly and popular audiences. He is the general editor of the Catholic Study Bible and editor in chief of The Bible Today.

Oct. 13

  • Nancy Ammerman of Hartford Theological Seminary will lecture on “Serving Communities of Faith at the Threshold of the 21st Century” at 9:45 a.m. in Brendle Recital Hall. Ammerman is professor of sociology of religion in the Center for Social and Religious Research at Hartford. She has written extensively on the nature of religion in the post-modern context, on the involvement of clergy in the civil rights movement and on the links between Baptists and the secular New Christian Right.
  • Members of the divinity school faculty will present seminars at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The theme of the seminars is “Assessing Present Trends.” Participants will have the opportunity to consider the changing role of religion in society.
  • Lawrence Carter of Morehouse College will present the lecture, “Growing Up into the Spiritual Edge of Theology’s Crown,” at 2 p.m. in Brendle Recital Hall. At Morehouse, Carter is the dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, college archivist and curator, and professor of religion. Carter’s extensive writings have appeared in The Journal of Pastoral Care, The National Baptist Voice, and The Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center.
  • The Vienna Chamber Orchestra with conductor and piano soloist Phillipe Entremont will close the celebration with a performance at 8 p.m. in Wait Chapel. The orchestra is appearing as part of the 1999-2000 Secrest Artists Series. A pre-concert lecture by David Levy, professor and chair of the Wake Forest music department, will begin at 7:10 p.m. in the Balcony Room of Wait Chapel. Tickets for the concert are available through the University Theater box office at 336-758-5295.

The divinity school opened this fall to 24 full-time students from a variety of denominational traditions. The school’s curriculum is centered in the classical theological disciplines of biblical studies, church history, theology and ministry studies, which include areas such as pastoral care and preaching.

For more information on seminars and registration, call 336-758-3957.

Categories: School of Divinity, University Announcement