WILSON, N.C. — The 32nd annual E.G. Purcell, Jr., Bible Conference and the Thedford G. and Woodrow W. Sprinkle Lectures are scheduled for April 23-24 at Barton College. Dr. Carol A. Newsom, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, will be the guest lecturer for the Purcell Bible Conference on Monday, April 23, and the Reverend Carol Howard Merritt, a pastor at Western Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., will be the featured speaker for the Sprinkle Lectures scheduled for Tuesday, April 24.

The Purcell Bible Conference is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Monday evening in The Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center.

The Sprinkle Lectures will be held in Hardy Alumni Hall on Tuesday. Tuesday’s agenda will include Sprinkle Lecture I at 11 a.m., titled “Preaching in a New Generation: Understanding the Context — What concerns burden a new generation? How do we understand the shifts in cultural context?” Lunch will follow at Noon, and the Conversations with the Reverend Howard Merritt session will be held from1:30-2:30 p.m. From 3-4 p.m., Dr. Rodney A. Werline, Marie and Leman Barnhill Endowed Chair in Religious Studies, will lead a “Study of Upcoming Lectionary Texts.” Following a brief recess, dinner will be served at 6 p.m.  Sprinkle Lecture II, titled “Preaching in a New Generation: Ministering within the Context — How should the shifts in authority, technology, and narrative affect our preaching? How can we be inspired in the art of writing a sermon?” will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Lunch ($7 per person) and dinner ($18 per person) reservations for Tuesday are required in advance of the event date by contacting Dr. Werline at 252-399-6647 or rawerline@barton.edu.

All lecture sessions are open to the public free of charge, and the community is invited to attend. The programs are sponsored by the Department of Religion and Philosophy.

For additional information about these events or to make reservations for Tuesday meals, please contact Dr. Werline at 399-6447 or email: rawerline@barton.edu.

Brief Speaker Biographies —

Dr. Newsom, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, is an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, having edited multiple critical editions of the Qumran texts, as well as written several books and numerous articles. In addition to co-editing the New Oxford Annotated Bible and The Women’s Bible Commentary (exp ed.), Dr. Newsom also is the author of The Book of Job: A Contest of Moral Imaginations as well as several other books and numerous essays.

The Reverend Carol Howard Merritt is a pastor at Western Presbyterian Church, an intergenerational congregation and the home of Miriam’s Kitchen, a feeding and social service program that welcomes 200 homeless guests for breakfast and dinner each weekday. She is the award-winning author of “Tribal Church” (Alban Institute, 2007) and “Reframing Hope” (Alban Institute, forthcoming).  The Reverend Merritt has written numerous articles, and she blogs for the Christian Century and Huffington Post. She also co-hosts a weekly God Complex Radio podcast and leads conferences nationally and internationally on cultural shifts and religion.

Brief History of Purcell Conference and Sprinkle Lectures —

The Purcell Bible Conference was established in 1984 with an endowment given by family, colleagues, friends, students and parishioners to honor the life and ministry of Eugene G. Purcell Jr. A graduate of Duke University and Duke Divinity School, Purcell joined the faculty of Barton College in 1957 and served 27 years in the Department of Religion and Philosophy. During his career, he has served Methodist churches in Burlington, Fair Bluff, and Ahoskie, as well Riverside Christian Church and Lanie’s Chapel Christian Church. The purpose of these lectures has been to provide the public with the finest in recent biblical scholarship each year.  From its inception, these lectures have been planned with the laity of the church in mind.

The Thedford G. and Woodrow W. Sprinkle Lectures were established in 1981 by Dr. Stephen V. Sprinkle, a graduate of Barton College, Yale Divinity School and Duke University.  The lectures were named in honor of his father, Thedford G. Sprinkle and his uncle, Woodrow W. Sprinkle.  Dr. Sprinkle, who graduated from Barton College in 1974, has served as associate minister to Thomas Chapel Church of Christ, New Haven, Conn., and as minister to First Christian Church of Greensboro, Wendell Christian Church and Pleasant Union Christian Church in Newton Grove.  He served on the faculty of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Barton from 1983-1990.  Sprinkle presently serves as associate professor of practical theology and director of field education and supervised ministry at Brite Divinity School of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: kdaughety@barton.edu.

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