MACON – Mercer University’s 16th annual Building the Beloved Community Symposium will welcome as keynote speaker the Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, associate professor and program director of reconciliation studies at Seattle Pacific University, Feb. 10 on the Macon campus.
The one-day symposium begins at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast at Centenary United Methodist Church, followed by Dr. McNeil’s first keynote speech, titled “The Healing of Nations: An African American Perspective,” at 10 a.m. in Penfield Hall.
Dr. McNeil will host a workshop over lunch from 11:15 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on “Reconciliation in Justice” and will deliver her second keynote address, titled “Are You Coming or Not? A Call to Racial Justice in this Generation,” at 7 p.m. in Penfield Hall.
Admission to all sessions is free and open to the public. Reservations are required for the workshop and can be made online or by contacting Trish Dunaway at (478) 475-9506 or firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 7.
“Dr. McNeil brings extensive experience consulting with churches, colleges and businesses seeking more racial diversity,” said Dr. John Marson Dunaway, professor emeritus of French and interdisciplinary studies at Mercer. “Her approach has a sound theological base, and the three-hour workshop is geared toward very practical lessons that will help lead us toward concrete action.”
Dr. McNeil is a speaker, author and professor with years of experience in the ministry of reconciliation. She earned her Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, Doctor of Ministry from Palmer Theological Seminary and received a Doctorate of Humane Letters from both North Park University and Eastern University.
In addition to her work at Seattle Pacific University, Dr. McNeil is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church and serves as a member of the pastoral staff of Quest Church in Seattle, Washington. She has written three books and was featured as one of the 50 Most Influential Women to Watch by Christianity Today in 2012.
Dr. Dunaway founded the Building the Beloved Community Symposium in 2005 as a way to help the church demonstrate unity through collaboration across denominational and racial boundaries based on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s concept of the “beloved community.” Dr. Matt Harper, associate professor of history and Africana studies, has served as co-convener since joining Mercer’s faculty in 2014.