ABHMS Center for Continuous Learning Issues Call for Baptist Theology Webinar Proposals

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ABHMS Center for Continuous Learning Issues Call for Baptist Theology Webinar Proposals

—The ABHMS Center for Continuous Learning (CCL), in collaboration with the American Baptist Theologians Commission, is launching “Baptist Theology on Third Thursdays,” a new six-session webinar series starting March 21, 2024, in which American Baptist historians and theologians will explore Baptist identity today. Each webinar will be either an individual presentation or a small panel discussion and include a moderated Q&A session to further engage an audience of pastor-scholars, theological educators, seminarians, and other leaders in various ministry contexts.

“I am dismayed by how little Baptist scholars are known in certain academic circles,” says the Rev. Dr. Rebecca Irwin-Diehl, director of the ABHMS Center for Continuous Learning. “I believe that this is due, at least in part, to Baptist theologians not sufficiently emphasizing Baptist identity in their scholarship.”

Irwin-Diehl’s observations motivated her to approach the conveners of the American Baptist Theologians Conference, which for a decade has sought to elevate Baptist scholars, about collaborating on a new online lecture series designed, among other things, to “promote emerging voices in academic circles.”

“‘Baptist Theology on Third Thursdays,’” says Irwin-Diehl, “will provide a collegial platform for sharing research and raising scholarly questions for exploration,” while also underscoring the implications of “sharing more widely the study of Baptist history, identity, and polity.”

Further, she stresses that “Baptist Theology on Third Thursdays” is not a traditional lecture series. Rather, Irwin-Diehl sees it as “more applied than theoretical,” which aligns with the “lived theology” of the CCL’s mission. “We intend this series to focus on contemporary issues drawn from a range of liturgical, congregational and social topics,” she says.

With that objective, the CCL invites proposals for 20- to 30-minute presentations—either individual papers or panel discussions involving 2-4 participants—emphasizing Baptist identity concerning a wide array of subjects. These could include:

  • Navigating diversity across ethnic, theological, and generational expressions;
  • The intersection of identities such as ethnicity, sexuality and ability;
  • Faith formation through preaching and teaching;
  • Identity formation with children and youth;
  • Spiritual formation amid religious disaffiliation;
  • Religious freedom in church and society;
  • History and current issues or trends; and
  • Worship and liturgy.

Presentation proposals should be submitted electronically no later than January 31, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET. Each submission requires the presenter’s name and biography or CV, the presentation title, and a summary of up to 300 words describing the topic under discussion. If a proposed presentation is a panel discussion, all panelists should be named and their biographies or CVs attached. The submission form is available here.

Review of proposals will begin immediately upon the close of the submission window on January 31. Six finalists will be selected by mid-February 2024, and each will be invited to present at one of the webinar sessions scheduled on the third Thursday of March through May or September through November at 12:30 p.m. ET. The series will be on hiatus from June through August. All finalists must submit their full presentation to the CCL by March 15, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET, irrespective of their presentation date.

In addition, notes Irwin-Diehl, any proposal submission may be considered for publication in the American Baptist Historical Society’s American Baptist Quarterly, or adapted or excerpted for The Christian Citizen magazine, an ABHMS publication.

For more information about the “Baptist Theology on Third Thursdays” webinar series or about submitting a proposal for consideration, visit https://ccl.abhms.org/products/communities/baptist-theologians or contact ccl@abhms.org.

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American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.