Speaker Series

To Celebrate our 250th year as a congregation, we are hosting a series of four public talks about contemporary issues of faith. All lectures and discussions will be held in our historic sanctuary at 412 Pine Street. More information below.
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Faith and the Environment
March 5, 2017, 1:30pm. Register for this event.

Rev. Nathan Stucky, PhD Director of the Farminary Project, Princeton Theological Seminary

 

“Where on earth is God?”

Within the Judeo-Christian tradition, the story of creation is apparently too big for one story. Genesis’ opening chapters offer two very different accounts, yet the two stories agree on one thing: the formation of the first humans takes place in the context of an exceptionally diverse creation and as a result of the creative action of God. The grand narrative of God’s relationship to humankind begins in a garden. Faith and environment (i.e. the material world) stand inseparable. The Incarnation of Jesus Christ and the conviction that in Christ there is the unity of full divinity and full humanity echoes this inseparability.

And yet, Christians throughout time, and particularly in our contemporary context, struggle to articulate a vibrant place for the material world (including our own bodies) within Christian faith. Is this as it should be? Or is it possible that our knowledge of the Creator and the Incarnate One actually depends on our relationship with the material world? Might our love of God and neighbor be, in fact, dependent on and reflected by our relationship with the land? Might our relationship with God depend on our relationship with the land? This presentation will focus on these questions and others in search for embodied, Christian faith that is truly fruitful and vibrant.

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Faith and War
November 5, 2017, 1:30pm.
William Harrison Taylor, PhD Associate Professor of History, Alabama State University

 

As had happened during the French and Indian war, the War for American Independence served as the catalyst for change within the American Presbyterian Church. In 1763 the American colonists were proud to be British. By July 1776, however, the colonists had declared their intent to be independent. The Presbyterians’ role in unifying the colonists aided this transformation, and the denomination continued in this task as the war continued. Their cause was righteous and their success depended on their ability to be worthy of such divine blessings. The war took a dreadful toll on the church and Presbyterians believed unrepentant national sins, among them slavery, were hindering the cause. It was only through repentance of these sins that Americans could remove the “afflicting hand of God” and secure their liberties. Most Presbyterians leaders came to believe that the true source of their hardships was their dwindling concern for unity within the body of Christ. At the war’s conclusion, while the Presbyterians were elated with the success of the American cause, they reminded themselves that Christ’s kingdom came first. Their efforts toward interdenominational cooperation not only intensified but also transformed to embrace a nationalist spirit. This presentation will explore the issues and circumstances that led to that transformation.

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Faith and Immigration
March 4, 2018, 1:30pm.

Daisy L. Machado, PhD Professor of Church History, Union Theological Seminary

 

The idea of the role of religion or theology in the public square is one that has been debated in this country for some decades now. Yet it is clear that there is a tradition in Christianity of engaging the reality of the secular world, of offering a critique of that world, and then also offering a vision of an alternative way of being as presented by Christ in the Gospels. As the U.S. and the world face a growing and more urgent immigration crisis this lecture will seek to examine what it is that Christianity can offer today’s public discourse about immigration. We will also examine how Christianity can offer an alternative way of thinking and talking about immigration that can lift up Christianity’s long held vision of a common humanity as it also calls Christians to boldly embrace the claims of faith to seek justice for all.

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Faith and Politics
May 6, 2018, 1:30pm.
Rev. Wilson Goode Sr., DMin former Mayor of Philadelphia, President of Amachi, Inc.

 

Ron Sider, PhD Distinguished Senior Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry & Public Policy, Palmer Theological Seminary