I am thrilled to tell you about a very special treat we have in store for you. A few months ago I received a message from the folks at Vanderbilt Divinity School. We have a special relationship with the Div School as five of us on the church staff graduated from there (Sam, Gracie, Steve, Greg and myself). They were letting us know that the Div School was looking for ways to better connect with the churches in the area, and offered to have a faculty member come and teach a Sunday School class or perhaps to preach.
I decided to take them up on their offer and went for a “moon shot” - I invited the Dean of the school, Dr. Emilie Townes, to come and preach for us. I imagined this would be a true long shot, but what the heck? If you are going to dream, dream big.
I’m elated to tell you that Emilie agreed to come preach for us at both services on Sunday, September 22. I have heard Emilie preach on several occasions, most notably a few graduation services at the school. She is a remarkable preacher.
Emilie is an American Baptist clergywoman. Originally from Durham, North Carolina, Emilie graduated from the University of Chicago with the Doctor of Ministry degree and later earned her PhD in Religion in Society and Personality from Northwestern University. She is the first African American to serve as Dean of the Divinity School. She was the Mellon Professor of African American Religion at Yale Divinity School. She was the first African American woman to serve as president of the American Academy of Religion. She has also taught on the faculties of Union Theological Seminary and Saint Paul School of Theology.
Emilie is the author of four books, the editor of two collections of essays, and the co-editor of two other books. She was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009.
We are very fortunate to have Emilie in our pulpit and I hope all of you will make a special effort to attend one of these services on September 22.