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Montreat Lecture Series: The Role of Religion and Race in U.S. Politics

worship leader Paul Huh rehearsing in 2012

 Johnson C. Smith Seminary, Montreat Conference Center, and the seminary announce the seventh Montreat Lecture Series, July 15- 17, The role of Religion and Race in U.S. Politics: A Post-Election Conversation on Christian Faith and Public Life. The series will include worship, lecture, and discussion each morning from 9-11:30 AM in Convocation Hall. This year’s speakers are Mark Douglas, Johnny B. Hill and Julia M. Speller. This marks the seventh year of this series, part of the Presbyterian History and Reformed Theology (PHRT) Program at Columbia.

“This year promises to continue to challenge our thinking about how faith and life, race and religion play out in U.S. politics,” says Charlie Raynal, director of the PHRT. “We are fortunate to be able to explore these with three such distinguished scholars and contributors to this important conversation.”

 Author of The First Black President: Barack Obama, Race, Politics, and the American Dream, Johnny B. Hill is a passionate advocate for racial justice, reconciliation, peace, and human rights in America and abroad. He currently serves as Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina; his previous positions include Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar-in-Residence and Dean of The Baptist School of Theology at The Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He holds a PhD from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. His forthcoming book, Prophetic Rage, is to be released in November 2013.


Julia M. Speller’s research interests include the study of religious experience and practice in 20th Century US, religious diversity/pluralism/multiculturalism in US society and religious identity, formation and vocation in theological education. Speller serves as associate Professor of American Religious History & Culture at Chicago Theological Seminary. She is particularly interested in 20th century congregational histories with a focus on African American communities. Her next publication is “A Pedagogy of the Unmasked: “Unheard but Not Unvoiced, Unseen but Not Invisible,” Teaching for a Culturally Diverse and Racially Just World, scheduled for release Spring, 2013.


 Douglas is Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Master of the Arts in Theological Studies Degree at Columbia Theological Seminary. The author of Confessing Christ in the 21st Century and Believing Aloud: Reflections on Being Religious in the Public Square, he received his PhD from the University of Virginia. A member of the faculty at CTS since 1999, Douglas is presently at work on a book for the academic community, War in a Warming World, that theologically re-frames the Just War tradition in light of the impact climate change is likely to have on war in the 21st Century.



Paul Huh, assistant professor of worship and director of Korean American Ministry at the seminary, will return for the second year to lead worship, assisted by Eric Wall, Montreat Conference Center worship and music director.

Advance registration is not required, and there is no charge for this event.

For more information about the lecture series, contact Columbia Theological Seminary’s Center for Lifelong Learning at or call 404.687.4577. For more information about Montreat Conference Center, call 828.419.9807 or visit