Shurden Lectures

The annual Shurden Lectures 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 Shurden Lectures are held at Mercer University in Georgia every three years and at another seminary, college or university in the intermediate years.


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

Click here to watch a video of the conversation

Discussion guides are now available for groups who want to dig deeper! We have a comprehensive five-session guide and an abridged single-session guide.

 In our discussions about religious liberty, how can we dismantle a narrative that centers white experiences and upholds white supremacy? Learn from four Black scholars on redefining religious freedom to deconstruct a harmful ideology deeply ingrained in our culture. Watch the recording of the 2021 Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures on Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State.

Meet the 2021 Shurden Lecturers below:

Dr. Teresa L. Smallwood is Associate Director of the Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative at Vanderbilt Divinity School. She earned a law degree, and her Ph.D. concentration in Theology, Ethics, and Human Sciences informs her multivalent methodological approach to racial justice.

Dr. Anthony Pinn is Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religion at Rice University and Director of Research for the Institute for Humanist Studies. Pinn’s research interests include religion and culture; Black religious thought; humanism; and hip hop culture.

Dr. Nicole Myers Turner is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University. She is the author of “Soul Liberty: The Evolution of Black Religious Politics in Post-Emancipation Virginia,” which narrates the transformation in black religious political strategies that occurred from 1865 to 1890.

Dr. David Goatley is Research Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies at Duke University Divinity School. A globally recognized missiologist, he is a constructive theologian whose scholarship and practice is at the intersection of missiology, Black Theology, and leadership strategy. 

Lecture Archives

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)