As the presidential candidates were making their final preparations for the second presidential debate, students and alumni at the Theological School were preparing to engage in thoughtful conversations about the intersections between “Faith, Race, and Politics,” this year’s theme of the Tipple-Vosburgh Lectures. Pastors, community leaders, chaplains, and scholars gathered to consider how to engage, facilitate, and respond to issues of politics and race.
The three-day lecture series and alumni reunion invited attendees to consider issues scarcely acknowledged by the political platitudes and media sound bites that seem to divide communities and flatten cultural diversity. Plenary leaders Rev. Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, Rev. Dr. Traci West, Dr. Gaston Espinosa, Dr. Melanie Johnson DeBaufre, and Willie Baptist each deepened the conversation with their perspectives on issues such as moral conscience, racism, demographic shifts, utopian politics, and poverty.
Attendees could also choose from six workshops, where small groups offered participants an opportunity to engage in more intimate dialogue. The intellectual work of the conference was complimented with exciting and prophetic sermons from Rev. Dr. Claudio Carvelhaes and Bishop C. Joseph Sprague. Dr. Stephen Moore engaged conference participants in thoughtful biblical study and analysis.
At the height of the conference, the Drew Theological School community celebrated the life and work of Dr. Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz. A spirited memorial service was followed by a reception honoring her life and legacy. Here, Dr. Isasi-Diaz’s work and the conversations ignited by the conference came alive as the Drew Theological community came together.
Although the alumni have returned to their homes, and students and faculty have returned to their semester work, Seminary Hall reverberates with the conversations of the 2012 Tipple-Vosburgh Lectures and Alumni Reunion. The full impact of the hard work begun at the Tipple-Vosburgh Lectures will be known when the questions are raised again outside of the walls of Drew University and in a wider public discourse.
– Amy Beth Jones, PhD Candidate