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.


Rev. Dr. Jay Augustine delivered the 2022 Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures on the campuses of Mercer University

The 2022 Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures were held at Mercer University on March 29-30, featuring three presentations from the Rev. Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine (a/k/a “Jay Augustine”).

Read an overview of the event in our summer 2022 magazine: Breakimg down the boundaries created by Christian nationalism

Lecture #1: Atlanta, Georgia
“And Who is My Neighbor?” Watch the video
March 29 at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology

Lecture #2: Macon, Georgia
“Religious Liberty and Christian Nationalism: A Political History and Problematic Present” Watch the video
March 30 at Mercer University College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Lecture #3: Macon, Georgia
“Making America Great Again?: Christian Nationalism and Recent Attempts to Undermine Democracy” Watch the video
March 30 at Mercer University School of Law

Jay Augustine

Jay Augustine

2022 Shurden Lecturer

Pastor, professor, author and advocate Jonathan C. Augustine is a multidisciplinary professional who serves in both ordained ministry and academia. He is part of a group of national social justice leaders who speak for the equality of all human beings, while advocating for policies of diversity, inclusion and belonging. 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 also is a law professor at North Carolina Central University. Augustine’s published works have been featured in numerous law reviews throughout the country.

A native of New Orleans, the Rev. Dr. Jay Augustine earned a B.A. from Howard University before serving on active duty as an infantry officer in the United States Army. He subsequently earned his law degree at Tulane University and served as a law clerk to former Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson. After being called to ministry, he graduated from United Theological Seminary and earned his doctorate at Duke University.

Augustine is the author of Called to Reconciliation: How the Church Can Model Justice, Diversity and Inclusion (Baker Academic, 2022). Learn more about him at

Lecture Archives

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)

2019, March 26-27

Lecturer: Rev. Dr. Aidsand Wright-Riggins, mayor of Collegeville, Pennsylvania; prior to that he served as CEO of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies and Judson Press.
Locations: Tuesday, March 26, at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri; Wednesday, March 27, at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas. The lectures were hosted by Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas.

Race, resistance, religion and rage (Report from the Capital, Summer 2019)
Aidsand Wright-Riggins: Race, resistance, religion and rage (Video)
Race, religious liberty and reconciliation: A conversation with Aidsand Wright-Riggins (Podcast)