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Divinity School Conference: Advocacy in the Pulpit and in the Classroom

Sept. 13, 2007

Should a pro-war pastor use the pulpit to push her position on the war in Iraq? Should a Democratic-leaning professor make his partisan preference clear in the classroom?

On Wednesday, September 19th, the University of Chicago’s Divinity School will host a day-long conference that examines the role that advocacy should — or should not — play in the pulpit and the classroom.

Aimed at a diverse audience — from practicing pastors and theology students to professors, graduate students and the general public — “Advocacy in the Pulpit and the Classroom” is free and open to the public and will begin in the University’s Swift Hall 1025 E. 58th St. with a 9:30 a.m. keynote address from University of Chicago Professor Franklin I. Gamwell. The Shailer Mathews Distinguished Service Professor of Religious Ethics, the Philosophy of Religions, and Theology, Gamwell is the author of Politics as a Christian Vocation: Faith and Democracy Today and has written extensively on religious and social ethics.

A panel of professors and pastors will respond to Gamwell’s address. Participants include: Kathleen Morrison, Director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago, Fr. Edward Foley, Capuchin, Professor of Music and Liturgy at Catholic Theological Union, Kaari Reierson Associate Director for Studies for Church and Society of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Reverend Ozzie Smith, Senior Pastor of Covenant United Church of Christ.

During the conference’s afternoon session, participants will gather in small group to reflect and discuss on the issues raised in the morning panel.

“Advocacy in the Pulpit and the Classroom” is first conference in the Divinity School’s new "Border Crossing: Collaborative Theological Reflection for Ministry" series. Funded by a generous gift from the Lilly Endowment, “Border Crossing” will offer a three-year cycle of conferences, consultations, teaching partnerships and reflection groups, all exploring the relationship between the professions of teaching and ministry. The project aims to bring together practicing ministers, Divinity School and seminary faculty, M.Div. and Ph.D. students in a variety of venues designed to enhance the well-informed and deeply-engaged practice of teachers and pastors alike.

For more information on the “Border Crossing” series, please visit:

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Last modified at 01:15 PM CST on Monday, September 17, 2007

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