Shurden Lectures

In 2004, Dr. Walter B. Shurden and Dr. Kay W. Shurden of Macon, Georgia, made a gift to BJC to establish an annual lectureship on the issues of religious liberty and the separation of church and state. Learn more and read about this year’s lecture at

Shurden Lecture speaker Eboo Patel

2023, May 31

Lecturer: Dr. Catherine Brekus, the Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America at Harvard Divinity School,

Location: Old North Church in Boston, Massachusetts

Recap in our fall 2023 magazine: The myth of American ‘chosenness’

Video: The myth of American ‘chosenness’ lecture and panel discussion
Podcast: The lecture on American ‘chosenness’
Podcast: The panel on American ‘chosenness’

Shurden Lecture speaker Eboo Patel

2022, March 29-30

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 15

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

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

Location: Online

Click here to watch the full presentation
Read a short recap from our summer 2021 magazine

Discussion guides:
Full discussion guide
Single-session discussion guide

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.

Locations: 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)

2018, March 20-21

2017, March 27-28

2016, April 4-5

2015, April 7-8

2014, April 1-2

2013, April 9-10

2012, April 17-18

2011, April 4-5

Lecturer: Melissa Rogers, the director of Wake Forest University Divinity School’s Center for Religion and Public Affairs and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution
Location: Georgetown College, Georgetown, Ky.

Rogers handles hot topics at 2011 Shurden Lectures (Article)
Keeping Faith Free: Religious Expression in American Public Life (Video)
An American and Christian case for defending Muslims’ free exercise rights (Video)
Faith-based partnerships under Presidents Bush and Obama (Video)

2010, April 27-28

2009, April 14-15

2008, April 14-15

Lecturer: Dr. Charles G. Adams, pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit, Mich., and one of the nation’s most prominent ministers
Location: Wake Forest University Divinity School, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Adams: Government is not the only power that exists (Article)

2007, February 26-27

Lecturer: Dr. James M. Dunn, Professor of Christianity and Public Policy at Wake Forest Divinity School in Winston-Salem, N.C., and former executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty 
Location: Carson-Newman University, Jefferson City, Tennessee

Dunn discusses historic right to religious liberty (Article) 

2006, April 4-5