Shurden Lectures

The annual Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures on Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State travel to campuses across the country, bringing a speaker to engage with the community and inspire students to stand up for religious freedom for all people.

Designed to enhance the ministry and programs of BJC, the Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures are held at Mercer University in Georgia every three years and at another seminary, college or university in the intermediate years.

Details about our 2024 event are coming soon.


Thank you for joining us in 2023

For the 2023 event, we explored the myth of American “chosenness” at one of America’s oldest churches. Dr. Catherine Brekus, Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America at Harvard Divinity School, was our keynote speaker for this year’s Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lecture on Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State. Read an article about the event, or access it with the buttons below.

Lecture Archives

Shurden Lecture speaker Eboo Patel

2022, March 19-20

Lecturer: Rev. Dr. Jonathan C. “Jay” Augustine, a multidisciplinary professional who serves in both ordained ministry and academia. In addition to serving as the senior pastor of St. Joseph AME Church in Durham, North Carolina, and as a missional strategist with the Duke Center for Reconciliation, he is also a law professor at North Carolina Central University. 

Location: Mercer University in Atlanta and Macon, Georgia

Recap in our summer 2022 magazine: Breaking down the boundaries created by Christian nationalism

And Who Is My Neighbor? (March 29, 2022)
Religious Liberty and Christian Nationalism: A Political History and Problematic Present (March 30, 2022)
Making America Great Again?: Christian Nationalism and Recent Attempts to Undermine Democracy (March 30, 2022)

Shurden Lecture speaker Eboo Patel

2021, April 14

Title: Religious Liberty Has Been White Too Long: Voices of Black Scholars

Lecturers: Dr. Nicole Myers Turner, Yale University; Dr. Teresa L. Smallwood, Vanderbilt Divinity School; Dr. Anthony Pinn, Rice University; Dr. David Goatley, Duke Divinity School

Location: Online

Watch the full presentation here.
Two discussion guides are available:

Article in BJC magazine: Black scholars share ways religious liberty has been white too long

Shurden Lecture speaker Eboo Patel

2020, March 5

Lecturer: Eboo Patel, the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a non-profit organization that is working to make interfaith cooperation a social norm in America.

Location: Baptist House of Studies at Perkins School of Theology at SMU in Dallas, Texas.

Are you ready to be an interfaith leader? (Article in BJC magazine)
Presentation #1: Religious Freedom and a Theology of Interfaith Cooperation (Video)
Presentation #2: Conversation with Eboo Patel and George Mason (Video)
Presentation #3: Religious Freedom and Interfaith Leadership (Video)