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52nd Annual Blandy Lecture and Symposium

Jan 14

Seminary of the Southwest presents the 52nd Annual Blandy Lecture and Symposium, featuring the Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary and the Bill and Judith Moyers Chair in Theology at Union.

Dean Douglas will present a talk on ‘Being Church in the Time of Black Lives Matter.’

This year’s Blandy Lecture – rescheduled from November – will be presented in an online format. Given the change in format required by the pandemic, Southwest will offer the lecture and follow-up symposium without charge this year.

We invite registrants to generously honor our speaker and event organizers with a voluntary gift to the Southwest Annual Fund in support of our students.


52nd Annual Blandy Lecture and Symposium

With the Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas

Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 7PM CST


“A significant and powerful theological voice, Kelly Brown Douglas is a person that our alums, current students, and faculty are eager to be ‘with’ for this year’s Blandy Lecture. While we will miss our normal ‘in-person’ fellowship, these unique circumstances allow for us to share a vital perspective within The Episcopal Church,” said the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, dean and president.

In keeping with early church practice of moral conversation, participants preparing for the Blandy conversation, will receive a biblical reflection to guide their preparations and encounter with the lecture. The seminary’s Iona Collaborative staff will facilitate a “symposium” conversation for registrants immediately following the lecture. Participants will be invited to reflect on Dr. Douglas’ presentation and then speak about how her words might influence and even transform particular practices in their own local church communities.



“In many early Christian churches, there was a structured time for moral conversation immediately following the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. It was the Church’s adaptation of the second part of a formal dinner party called the Symposium – a time for drinking, music, dancing, and other entertainment. This was a revelatory and transformative practice where church members reflected on their lives and spoke prophetically about where and how God was working among them. This conversation built up the church community and encouraged and consoled individual congregants in the challenging work of daily faithfulness,” said the Rev. John Lewis, director of the Iona Collaborative.

Participants will receive a certificate acknowledging one hour of contact time for continuing education credit.

About The Very Reverend Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas

The Very Reverend Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas was named Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Theology at Union in September 2017.  She was named the Bill and Judith Moyers Chair in Theology in November 2019.  She also serves as the Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral and Theologian in Residence at Trinity Church Wall Street.

Prior to Union, Dean Douglas served as Professor of Religion at Goucher College where she held the Susan D. Morgan Professorship of Religion and is now Professor Emeritus.  Before Goucher, she was Associate Professor of Theology at Howard University School of Divinity (1987-2001) and Assistant Professor of Religion at Edward Waters College (1986-1987).

Dean Douglas is widely published in national and international journals and other publications.  Her groundbreaking and widely taught book Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective (1999) was the first to address the issue of homophobia within the black church community.  Her latest book, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (2015), examines the challenges of a “Stand Your Ground” culture for the black church.

Douglas’ other books include The Black Christ (1994, 25th Anniversary edition 2019), What’s Faith Got to Do with It?: Black Bodies/Christian Souls (2005) and Black Bodies and the Black Church: A Blues Slant (2012), which seeks to move the black church beyond its oppressive views toward LGBTQ bodies and sexuality in general.

In addition, Dean Douglas is the co-editor of Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reflection (2010).  She has been a pioneering and highly sought-after voice in regard to addressing sexual issues in relation to the black religious community.  She has been very active in advocating equal rights for LGBTQ persons.