ATLANTA/MACON – Mercer will host the 2022 Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures on Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State March 29-30 on the University’s Atlanta and Macon campuses.

This year’s lecturer is pastor, professor, author and advocate the Rev. Dr. Jonathan C. (Jay) Augustine. His lectures will focus on the themes of racial reconciliation, Christian nationalism and voting rights.

Dr. Augustine’s first lecture will be hosted by McAfee School of Theology March 29 at 11 a.m. in the second-floor auditorium of the Atlanta Administration and Conference Center on Mercer’s Cecil B. Day Campus. His second lecture will be hosted by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences March 30 at 11:15 a.m. in the Medical School Auditorium on the Macon campus. Dr. Augustine’s final lecture will be hosted by Mercer Law School March 30 at 3:30 p.m. in the law school’s first-floor courtroom.

Online registration is requested for the three lectures, which are free and open to the public.

Dr. Augustine is an ordained minister, an academic and is part of a group of national social justice leaders who speak for the equality of all human beings while advocating for policies of diversity, inclusion and belonging.

In addition to serving as the senior pastor of St. Joseph AME Church in Durham, North Carolina, and as a missional strategist with the Duke Center for Reconciliation, he is a law professor at North Carolina Central University.

He is the author of Called to Reconciliation: How the Church Can Model Justice, Diversity and Inclusion, published by Baker Academic earlier this year, and his published works have been featured in numerous law reviews throughout the country.

A native of New Orleans, Dr. Augustine earned his B.A. from Howard University before serving on active duty as an infantry officer in the United States Army. He subsequently earned his law degree at Tulane University and served as a law clerk to former Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson. After being called to ministry, he graduated from United Theological Seminary and earned his doctorate at Duke University.

In 2004, Dr. Walter B. Shurden and Dr. Kay W. Shurden of Macon made a gift to the Washington, D.C.-based Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC) to establish an annual lectureship on the issues of religious liberty and separation of church and state.

A nationally noted church historian, Dr. Walter B. Shurden is founding executive director of the Center for Baptist Studies and a minister-at-large for Mercer. He served at the University for almost 25 years as Callaway Professor of Christianity in the Roberts Department of Religion in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. During 18 of those years, he served as chair of the department.

Dr. Kay W. Shurden, a retired professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in Mercer’s School of Medicine, is a noted author and maintained a practice in counseling and supervision.

Designed to enhance the ministry and programs of BJC, the lectures are held at Mercer every three years and at another seminary, college or university the other years. The lecturers may be academics, politicians, ministers, church historians, ethicists or activists.

About BJC

BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty) is a leading voice in Washington, D.C., working to defend faith freedom for all and protect the institutional separation of church and state in the historic Baptist tradition. Founded in 1936, BJC fights for religious liberty for everyone, knowing that a threat to anyone’s religious liberty is a threat to everyone’s religious liberty. Learn more at