MACON – Dr. Stephanie Paulsell, Susan Shallcross Swartz Professor of the Practice of Christian Studies at Harvard Divinity School, will deliver Mercer University’s 28th annual Harry Vaughan Smith Distinguished Visiting Professor of Religion Lectures.
Dr. Paulsell will present three lectures on the theme “Lost in the Mystery of God: Spiritual Practices” on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 10:50 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 10 a.m., in Newton Chapel.
The lecture series, sponsored by the Columbus Roberts Department of Religion in the College of Liberal Arts, is free and open to the public.
Dr. Paulsell earned her Bachelor of Arts from Greensboro College in North Carolina and both her Master of Arts and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
Her research has explored intersections between intellectual work and spiritual practice, between the academic study of religion and the practices of ministry, and between the contemplative and active dimensions of the vocations of minister and teacher. She is currently conducting research on Virginia Woolf and religion.
Dr. Paulsell, an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), joined the faculty at Harvard Divinity School in 2001. While there, she has served as a lecturer of ministry, associate dean for ministry studies, Houghton Professor of the Practice of Ministry Studies and associate dean for faculty and curricular affairs.
Before coming to Harvard, she served as director of ministry studies and senior lecturer in religion and literature at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Dr. Paulsell is the author of Lamentations and the Song of Songs: A Theological Commentary on the Bible (2012) and Honoring the Body: Meditations on a Christian Practice (2003), as well as co-editor of The Scope of Our Art: The Vocation of the Theological Teacher (2001).
The Harry Vaughan Smith Distinguished Visiting Professorship was established in 1990 after Dr. and Mrs. Harry Vaughan Smith made a major gift to Mercer to underwrite a visiting professorship and lecture series in the Department of Religion.
The gift bears witness to the lifelong commitment of the late Dr. Smith to the University, which began when he enrolled as a freshman in 1920. A 1924 graduate, Dr. Smith served as pastor of several prominent churches in Georgia before becoming alumni secretary and assistant to the president at Mercer in 1946, a post he held until 1955. From 1955-1970, he distinguished himself as executive director of the Georgia Baptist Foundation. In his many years of service, Dr. Smith was a faithful worker on behalf of all Georgia Baptist causes, but he always maintained a special interest in the University and the cause of Christian higher education.