King’s Lays Groundwork for Center for the Study of Christianity and the Black Experience
On November 21, organizers of a proposed Center for the Study of Christianity and the Black Experience held a reception and dinner to introduce their proposal.
On November 21, organizers of a proposed Center for the Study of Christianity and the Black Experience held a reception and dinner to introduce their proposal. A group of twenty-five persons, including administrators, alumni, and current students, attended the event. The first organizational meeting for the proposed Center followed on November 22 and 23.
Those participating in the organizational meeting included Dr. David Tubbs, associate professor of politics; Dr. Joseph Loconte, associate professor of history and senior fellow in Christianity and culture; Dr. Robert Carle, professor of religious and theological studies; Dr. Dami Kabiawu, assistant professor of finance; and Dr. Mark Hijleh, provost of The King’s College. Also present were alumna Jessica Lee (PPE ’14); Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III and Dr. Jacqueline C. Rivers, who jointly direct the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies; and Rev. Dr. David D. Daniels III, the Henry Winters Luce Professor of World Christianity at the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
Tubbs said that the purpose of the organizational meeting was “to discuss ideas and possible initiatives for the proposed Center” and to hear from experts outside of the College. Over the weekend, members composed a mission statement, outlined initiatives, and discussed the Center’s intended role at King’s.
The mission statement of the proposed Center reads: “Through teaching, research, scholarly writing, and public engagement, the Center seeks to increase our knowledge of Black Christian communities’ influence on the faith around the globe, with critical attention to the ancient, modern, and future roles of the Black Church, and its contributions to worldwide Christianity, including the civic dimensions of its work.”
The Center received a grant to host the reception and dinner and to conduct the organizational meeting. The Center hopes to receive further funding for initiatives such as co-sponsoring a conference with the Seymour Institute in September 2021 and possibly offering courses at King’s as early as fall 2020.
Tubbs shared his thoughts on the Center’s role at The King’s College, saying, “I think it’s important for the King’s community to know more about the history and contributions of the Black Church worldwide… it is an inspiring story in many ways.” He offered the example of the role of the Black Church in the Civil Rights movement, saying, “This is something in my judgment that everyone at King’s should know.”
Student Body President Koby Jackson (HUM ’20) attended the dinner and reception. He noted that he was very optimistic about the proposed Center after hearing from the organizers. He was particularly encouraged to hear from the three participants not affiliated with King’s. They “not only showed their interest and passion for the Center, but showed a passion for King’s and for the King’s community.”