MACON – Mercer University’s 17th Building the Beloved Community Symposium will welcome as keynote speaker the Rev. Dr. Daniel Hill, senior pastor of River City Community Church in Chicago, Illinois, Sept. 15-16 on the Macon campus. This year’s theme is “What is My Responsibility for Racial Justice and Healing?”

The two-day symposium begins with a banquet and keynote address on Thursday, Sept. 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m., in the Presidents Dining Room inside the University Center.

The Rev. Dr. Daniel Hill
The Rev. Dr. Daniel Hill

The events on Friday, Sept. 16, commence with a prayer breakfast, 8:30-9:45 a.m., at Centenary United Methodist Church.

Hill’s second keynote address will take place from 10:10-11 a.m. in Penfield Hall, followed by a panel discussion from 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., lunch and a roundtable discussion.

Admission to all sessions is free and open to the public. Online registration is required and remains open through Sept. 8.

“Daniel Hill is someone who has done real soul-searching to confront the role race and racism has played in his own life and community. And his desire to follow Jesus faithfully took him places he didn’t expect to go. So, he’s a great person to help us think about our own responsibility to work for racial justice,” said Dr. Matt Harper, associate professor of history and Africana studies at Mercer.

Hill founded River City in 2003, led and inspired by a call toward spiritual renewal, social justice and economic justice in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago.

He is the author of White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to be White, in which he builds a pathway toward racial awakening, starting with the biblical mandate of reconciliation, incorporating historical roots of white supremacy and weaving in his own life’s journey of learning and understanding the system of race.

Hill earned his Doctor of Ministry from Northern Theological Seminary, M.A. in biblical studies from Moody Theological Institute, certificate in faith-based community development from Harvard Divinity School and B.S. in business from Purdue University.

Dr. John Marson Dunaway, professor emeritus of French and interdisciplinary studies, founded the annual Building the Beloved Community Symposium in 2005 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. Harper has served as co-convener since joining Mercer’s faculty in 2014.

Featured photo by Christopher Ian Smith