Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke University Chapel and associate professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School, will present the annual Howard Thurman Lecture on Thursday, November 12, sponsored by Candler’s Black Church Studies program, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The lecture, “A Homiletical Sankofa: The Spirituals and the Future of Ministry,” will take place from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. as a webinar. This event is free and open to the public, and registration is required. Register here.
Powery’s lecture will focus on the Black church’s vital practices of music and preaching, exploring spirituals as musical sermons in the Spirit that can serve as a critical resource for reflecting on and moving forward into the future of ministry.
Powery earned his MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary and his ThD from Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto. Prior to his appointment at Duke, he served as the Perry and Georgia Engle Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary. He was ordained by the Progressive National Baptist Convention and has served in an ecumenical capacity in churches throughout Switzerland, Canada, and the United States. He is a member of the Academy of Homiletics, the American Academy of Religion, and the Society for the Study of Black Religion.
His teaching and research interests are located at the intersection of preaching, worship, pneumatology, and culture, particularly expressions of the African diaspora. He has written five books: Spirit Speech: Lament and Celebration in Preaching (Abingdon Press, 2009); Dem Dry Bones: Preaching, Death, and Hope (Fortress Press, 2012); Ways of the Word: Learning to Preach for Your Time and Place (Fortress, 2016), co-written with Sally A. Brown; Rise Up, Shepherd! Advent Reflections on the Spirituals (Westminster John Knox Press, 2017); and Were You There? Lenten Reflections on the Spirituals (Westminster John Knox, 2019). He is also a general editor of a nine volume lectionary commentary series for preaching and worship titled Connections (Westminster John Knox).
Powery served as a member of the executive lectionary team for The African-American Lectionary and is the recipient of numerous scholastic fellowships and awards. In 2014, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College for his ethical and spiritual leadership in the academy, church, and broader society.
A national leader in homiletics, Powery regularly delivers sermons at Duke Chapel as well as at churches throughout the United States and abroad. He is often a keynote speaker and lecturer at educational institutions, conferences, symposia, and retreats.