WILSON, N.C. — The 34th annual Thedford G. and Woodrow W. Sprinkle Lectures and the E.G. Purcell, Jr. Bible Conference are scheduled for February 26 and 27 at Barton College. Dr. Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Pastoral Theology in The Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University will deliver the Sprinkle lectures.  Dr. Anathea Portier-Young, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Duke University Divinity School will be the featured speaker at the Purcell Bible Conference.

The Sprinkle Lectures will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. and on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 11 a.m. in The Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center. Dr. Miller-McLemore’s lectures are titled “Childhood Studies in Religion: Implications for Preaching” and “The Body and Theological Knowledge: Implications for Worship,” respectively. The lectures are open to the public at no charge and the community is invited to attend.

Following the Thursday morning lecture will be “Lunch and Conversation with Dr. Miller-McLemore” from Noon to 1:30 p.m. The cost of the lunch is $7 per person and reservations for lunch must be made in advance of the event. To make reservations for the meal or for additional information, please contact Dr. Rodney A. Werline, Marie and Leman Barnhill Endowed Chair in Religious Studies, at (252) 399-6454 or rawerline@barton.edu.

The E.G. Purcell, Jr. Bible Conference will follow at 7 p.m. on Thursday evening, Feb. 27, in The Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center. Dr. Portier-Young’s lecture is titled “Confronting Violence in Our Scriptures and in Our World.” The Purcell Conference is also open to the public at no charge and the community is invited to attend.

Dr. Miller-McLemore’s research focuses on the areas of religion, psychology and culture, pastoral and practical theology, and women and childhood studies centered on understanding the person and lived theology in the midst of everyday struggles, such as illness, dying, working, and parenting. She was named a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology and has also received grants from the Lilly Endowment Foundation, the Association of Theological Schools, the Wabash Center on Teaching and Learning in Religion and Theology, and Vanderbilt University. Dr. Miller-McLemore has authored, co-authored and edited more than a dozen books and has written many chapters and articles for other publications. Among her recent publications are “Children and Childhood in American Religions,” “Faith’s Wisdom for Daily Living,” and “In the Midst of Chaos: Care of Children as Spiritual Practice.” Ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Dr. Miller-McLemore served as an associate pastor, chaplain, and pastoral counselor while completing her Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1986.

Dr. Portier-Young received her Ph.D. in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible from Duke University in 2004. In her research, she especially applies literary, sociological, and theological approaches to the Old Testament and second temple Jewish literature. For her book, “Apocalypse Against Empire Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism,” Dr. Portier-Young was awarded the 2013 Manfred Lautenschläger Award for Theological Promise. Her second book, “The Theology of the Book of Daniel,” will appear in the series Old Testament Theology (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). Portier-Young has published scholarly articles on Daniel, Tobit, Joseph and Aseneth, and I Corinthians.

Brief History of the Sprinkle Lectures and the Purcell Bible Conference —

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.

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.

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