VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/26/12)—Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland, Calif., launches its J. Alfred Smith Sr. Lecture Series Saturday, Oct. 13, with an inaugural lecture by world-renowned political activist and author the Rev. Dr. Allan A. Boesak.
Tickets to the event—9 a.m.– noon in the church’s Family Life Center—are free. Boesak will focus on “Combative Love and Revolutionary Neighborliness: The Jericho Road Ministry of J. Alfred Smith Sr.” The faith-based community as well as the public-at-large are invited to attend.
The lecture series, which will be an annual October event, is part of Allen Temple’s Leadership Institute that includes programs awarding certificates in Christian Ministry and Community Leadership: Civic Engagement. Dr. Brenda Guess, chancellor of the institute, says the new lecture series “gives us an opportunity to promote dialogue among scholars, leaders and the greater Bay area community.”
Established in honor of Dr. J. Alfred Smith Sr.—visionary, pastor emeritus of Allen Temple Baptist Church and Leadership Institute founder— the lecture series is designed to encourage the work of prophetic justice. Smith, professor of Preaching and Church Ministries at American Baptist Seminary of the West, authored the Judson Press book “Speak Until Justice Wakes: Prophetic Reflections from J. Alfred Smith Sr.”
Together with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dr. Frank Chikane, Boesak gave leadership to the ecumenical movement in South Africa during the critical years from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, when the struggle against apartheid intensified. Boesak—former president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, former chairman of the African National Congress and national vice president of the South African Council of Churches—will also address Allen Temple’s congregation during worship on Sunday, Oct. 14.
More than three decades ago, Smith and Boesak established a brotherhood that has spanned two continents as each man worked to break down barriers that held their neighbors captive. They share a commitment to revolutionary actions that challenge all of us to love not just ourselves, but also our neighbors, regardless of color, gender, class or status.
The lecture series is made possible by a multi-year grant from The California Endowment foundation through the East Oakland Building Healthy Communities initiative. The foundation has selected East Oakland as one of 14 sites in California to receive funds for addressing problems of violence prevention, health disparities and re-entry issues of formerly incarcerated citizens.
“Speak Until Justice Wakes: Prophetic Reflections from J. Alfred Smith Sr.” encourages readers to speak truth to power. Through reflections that tackle issues of politics, preaching, Christian compassion, classism, evil and saving children, Smith moves readers to live prophetically. The book ($11) is available from Judson Press by calling 800-458-3766 or visiting www.judsonpress.com.
Founded in 1824, Judson Press—a publishing ministry of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, American Baptist Churches USA—produces Christ-centered leadership resources for the transformation of persons, congregations, communities and cultures.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.