Candler’s Black Church Studies (BCS) program will host an alumni reunion and conference February 18-20, "In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors: Revisiting, Renovating and Revolutionizing the Path."

Reunion events on February 18 and 19 include the annual Anna Julia Cooper Lecture, offered this year by The Rev. Dr. Maria Dixon Hall 98T 99T, associate professor of communications studies at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts; Candler worship led by The Rev. BaSean Jackson 02T 11G, pastor of Fellowship of Love Church in Fayetteville, Georgia; "Leadership Lessons from Ferguson," a discussion and dialogue led by Leah Gunning Francis, associate dean for contextual education and assistant professor of Christian Education at Eden Theological Seminary; and a banquet featuring The Rev. Dr. Robert M. Franklin, Jr., James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership, former president of Morehouse College and the founding director of Candler’s BCS program.

The BCS reunion conference opens on February 20 with a prayer breakfast featuring The Rev. Timothy McDonald 78T, who will speak on "Black Churches – Black Communities – Black Academics: Competitors or Collaborators?" Morning and afternoon seminars led by Candler faculty and alumni will address contemporary issues in relation to the black church, including popular culture, social and political activism, liturgies and worship, and mental health. An alumni luncheon plenary will also be held, "Through the Lenses of the Elders: Candler Experience and Black Religiosity."

According to Professor of Homiletics and Director of Black Church Studies Teresa Fry Brown, reflecting on the current state of the black church is a key component of the conference.

"Black churches were at one time the source of political activism, community care, education, family, racial inclusion and spiritual nurturing. Contemporarily, black churches and black religiosity have been critiqued as socio-politically irrelevant, out of touch with young adults, theologically vapid and economically stratified," she says. "The BCS reunion conference will provide a means for Candler alumni, current students, Emory faculty and students, and community leaders and pastors to discuss these issues."

Fry Brown also expects the conference to yield results beyond the walls of Candler. "We anticipate publication of the presentations, grant proposals to address particular issues, and subsequent seminars on prioritized subjects."

The reunion conference is open to current Candler students, Candler alumni, and the Emory community. Cost for students is $25.00 and cost for all others is $75.00. View the schedule and register by February 10.