On Tuesday, February 6, 2024, Dr. Donyelle McCray visited Southwest as the Payne lecturer. Dr. McCray is the Associate Professor of Homiletics at Yale Divinity School, and her scholarship focuses on African American preaching, sermon genre, and medieval women’s spirituality. She is the author of The Censored Pulpit: Julian of Norwich as Preacher. Dr. McCray’s lecture presented the fruit of her archival research on the life and writing of Pauli Murray.
During the lecture, Dr. McCray highlighted Pauli Murray’s journey especially through her poetry, letters, and sermons. Dr. McCray read excerpts from Murray’s work and provided observations and connections to the influence Pauli Murray had on the Civil Rights Movement, The Episcopal Church, and gender equality.
The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge shares, “Dr. Donyelle McCray’s evocation of Pauli Murray’s life and work was spellbinding. In embodying Pauli Murray, Dr. McCray shared both Pauli and herself.”
Occurring during Black History Month at Southwest, attendees of the Payne Lecture were invited to wear yellow in solidarity with the Black community. Each week, members of the Southwest community and beyond are invited to wear the different traditional colors of the pan-Africanist movement (red, green, black, and yellow) You can learn more about Black History Month at Southwest here.
The Payne Lecture is a lecture series held each February that is hosted by the Southwest Board of Trustees. The Payne Lecture focuses on mission, congregational leadership, evangelism, or congregational development, and is named in honor of the Right Reverend Claude Payne, former chair of the seminary’s board of trustees and Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
You can view the lecture below: