From left: Johnson, Heinrichs, Rittgers

This fall, Pitts Theology Library will launch the Kessler Conversations, a series of online interviews with leading church historians and theologians addressing the relevance of the Protestant Reformation for contemporary communities.

Named after the library’s world-renowned Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection, the conversations will focus each semester on a single contemporary theme and trace it back to the Reformers. For the fall 2020 term, the conversations will focus on healing, disease, and pastoral care in the 16th and 21st centuries. Learn more and register for the fall webinars here.

“The Kessler Conversations will allow the general public to learn about the events of Europe in the 16th century, and to consider what they tell us about the issues facing our communities,” says Richard Manly “Bo” Adams, Jr., library director and Margaret A. Pitts Assistant Professor in the Practice of Theological Bibliography. “We’re excited to invite a broader audience to learn how the 500-year-old works in the Kessler Collection have much to say about the challenges of disease, healing, and pastoral care that we all face today with the coronavirus pandemic.”

Adams says that the series will also extend the impact of Reformation Day, an annual Pitts event typically held in October that showcases the Kessler Collection. “For the first time in 33 years, Reformation Day at Emory will be a virtual celebration. We look forward to this opportunity to spread our programming out across the fall semester, offering several opportunities for the community to engage with and learn from this collection.”

The fall Kessler Conversations are listed below. Each Wednesday webinar will begin at 12:00 p.m. and run for 30 to 45 minutes. The webinars will also be archived for viewing here.

September 2:“Christian Ethics in Times of Plague”
Speaker: Anna M. Johnson, associate professor of Reformation church history at Garett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

October 7: “Plague in the Reformation Era”
Speaker: Erik Heinrichs, associate professor of history at Winona State University

November 4: “The Reformation of Suffering”
Speaker: Ronald Rittgers, Eric Markel Chair in German Reformation Studies and Professor of History and Theology at Valparaiso University