Southwest Celebrates Bishop Dena Harrison at Payne Lecture


On February 5, 2019, Seminary of the Southwest hosted the annual Payne Lecture before a crowded Knapp Auditorium on the Southwest campus. This year’s gathering held extraordinary importance, as the featured speaker was Bishop Payne – for whom the lecture is named – and included a robust celebration of Bishop Dena Harrison, a Southwest alumna and former board chair of the seminary. Bishop Harrison retired at the end of 2018 and leaves a long legacy of transformational leadership.

The evening – hosted by the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas – began with remarks from Bishop Payne, who spoke on the topic of his new book, Reclaiming Christianity. After Bishop Payne spoke, Bishop Doyle introduced the portion of the evening in celebration of Bishop Harrison, with several people prominent in her life and career sharing their reflections. The Rev. Charlie Cook, Southwest professor emeritus of pastoral theology, Bob Schorr, manager of strategic development for the Diocese of Texas, the Very Rev. Doug Travis, emeritus dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest, and the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest, each delivered stirring tributes to Bishop Harrison in reflection of her long service.

“It was wonderful to welcome distinguished leaders from our history with the present community of Southwest to honor our leader and friend, Bishop Dena Harrison,” said Dean Kittredge. “To hear leaders who authentically represent the growth and success of this seminary share their perspectives on Dena’s leadership was an inspiring testament to her impact on this institution.”

The Payne Lecture is hosted annually in February by the Board of Trustees of the seminary and is focused on mission, congregational leadership, evangelism, or congregational development in honor of Bishop Claude Payne, who led the Episcopal Diocese of Texas to 1995 to 2003. Past speakers have included Jimmy Bartz, Bréne Brown, and Reggie McNeal.