American Baptist Celebrates the 63rd Annual Garnett-Nabritt Lectures

Rev. Davie Tucker

NASHVILLE, TN — Make plans to attend the 63rd Annual Garnett-Nabritt Lectures taking place March 16-18, 2020 at American Baptist College. This year’s theme, “Empowering Congregations to Heal Communities,’’ seeks to empower congregations in the Black Christian prophetic tradition to respond to the rapidly changing church landscape. 

“ABC is in a unique position to respond to the ecclesial and theological challenges, changing economic demographics, and public policy changes impacting Black churches and the communities for whom they exist,” said Dr. Forrest E. Harris, Sr., President of American Baptist College. A recent longitudinal Congregational study by Duke University found, “31% of a typical Black congregation is more than 60 years old.  They also report “median weekend attendance at all worship services declined from 100 people in 2006 to 76 people in 2012.

“The Garnett-Nabritt Lectures are significant to the College, as well as the community of humankind, throughout the nation and the world. This event provides strategies challenging the decline of the prominence of the Black Church in Black life,” Harris added.

These annual lectures are named in honor of two former presidents, James Henry Garnett and James Madison Nabrit. The tenure of Dr. Garnett, who served as eight years as president, and Dr. Nabrit, who served four years as president, are benchmarks in the legacy of great leadership provided to American Baptist College.

Rev. Davie Tucker, Pastor of Beech Creek Baptist Church in Nashville and coordinator of the Lectures  said, “Churches are struggling, particularly Black Churches for relevancy, economically, politically and socially, in these trying times.  Garnett/ Nabritt provides an alternative to this status quo.”

The Garnett/Nabritt Lectures have been a long-standing tradition at ABC bringing in pastors, evangelists and workers in the church to participate in this 3-day event.

“ABC has assembled a group of nationally recognized Christian scholars, leaders and practitioners to address the complex issues that confront Black congregations and provide strategies to re-imagine a new matrix of success, in addition to larger budgets, bigger buildings and burgeoning attendance,” Rev. Tucker added.

Rev. Darrell Drumwright, senior pastor of The Temple Church in Nashville and co-

Rev. Darrell Drumwright

coordinator of the event explains why this year’s series is so important for these times, “The Garnett/Nabrit lecture series is an opportunity for individual and communal learning, fellowship and growth that will aid in shifting the trajectory of our communities on every level.”

Confirmed speakers include Dr. Marvin McMickle, past President Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School; Dr. Keri Day, Princeton Theological Seminary; Dr. Christophe Ringer, Chicago Theological Seminary; Dr. Briana Parker, The Black Millennial Café; Rev. Damien Durr, Friendship West; Professor Kelisha Graves, Fayetteville State University and Rev. John Faison, pastor, Watson Grove, Nashville.

The concluding activities of the lecture series involve the Nannie Helen Burroughs annual luncheon focusing on outstanding women in the Nashville community who embody the spirit of Ms. Burroughs, who was a religious and civil rights activist and pioneering educator. The luncheon will be Wednesday, March 18 at 11:30 at the Baptist World Center Fellowship Hall.  Five Nashville area women will be honored and Professor Kelisha Graves of Fayetteville State University is the featured speaker.

For more information on the Garnett/Nabritt Lectures and the Nannie Helen Burroughs Luncheon please visit the ABC website at ABCNash.edu., and Eventbrite.  For vendor information contact Andre’ Trice at atrice@abcnash.edu or call 615-687-6939.

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