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Fifteenth Annual Black Religious Scholars Group Consultation
November 16, 2012
The guiding vision of the Black Religious Scholars Group (BRSG) is to sponsor consultations and speaking series for the edification of the liberating theology and witness of the Black Church tradition within the academy, church and wider Black community.
Our annual public forums across North America at welcoming congregations continue the process of exploring ways in which meaningful dialogue and partnership can occur between Black religious scholars and the larger Black community and its churches for the well-being and advancement of both our people and communities.
The BRSG is committed to creating dialogues that forge bonds of communication for partnership and innovation between Black peoples. Central to our vision, is the conviction that dialogue and collaboration among scholars, churches and community activist organizations is essential for cultivating transformative debates and promoting social justice. Each year the BRSG consultation promotes an open conversation that will be held in collaboration with Black religious scholars, clergy, and community leaders and engage directly with the general public in our host city as a precursor to the American Academy of Religion / Society of Biblical Literature (AAR / SBL) annual meeting. Since our founding over a decade ago, we have had the great privilege to recognize some of the finest scholars in Black religion such as J. Deotis Roberts, Henry and Ella Mitchell, James H. Cone, Peter Paris, Jacquelyn Grant, Katie G. Cannon, Vincent Harding, Delores S. Williams, Robert M. Franklin, Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, Gayraud S. Wilmore, Cornel West, Renita J. Weems, Walter E. Fluker, M. Shawn Copeland,Emilie Townes, Luther E. Smith, Jr., and Cheryl Kirk-Duggan as our annual honorees.
During the fifteenth annual consultation, the Black Religious Scholars Group will honor Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright Jr.
2012 BRSG Honoree
The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He completed his elementary education in that city and then went to Virginia Union University. After three and a half years at Virginia Union, Rev. Wright left school and entered the United States Marine Corps. He transferred from the USMC into the United States Navy where he served as a cardiopulmonary technician.
After six years in the military, Rev. Wright transferred to Howard University where he completed his undergraduate studies and received his first master’s degree. His second master’s degree was from the University of Chicago Divinity School. His doctorate was earned from the United Theological Seminary under Rev. Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor. In addition to Rev. Wright’s four earned degrees, he has been the recipient of nine honorary doctorates.
He became pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ on March 1, 1972. Within a matter of months he demonstrated an understanding and deep commitment to help Trinity UCC achieve its motto and vision. The motto, "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian", was a phrase coined by his predecessor, the Rev. Dr. Reuben Sheares, and was officially adopted by the congregation shortly after Pastor Wright began his ministry.
Since 1972, under Rev. Wright’s leadership, the membership of Trinity United Church of Christ grew from eighty-seven members and currently exceeds eight thousand congregants. Pastor Wright has lectured at seminaries and universities across the United States and has represented Trinity UCC and The United Church of Christ around the world.
At the end of May 2008, Rev. Wright retired as senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ. He became pastor, emeritus, and spends his time preaching, teaching, leading study tours to Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean. He is recognized as a leading theologian and pastor and has published four books and numerous articles.
2012 Council of Griots
Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems, Moderator
Vice President of Academic Affairs, American Baptist College
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III
Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ
Rev. Dr. Fredrick D. Haynes III
Pastor, Friendship West Baptist Church
Dr. Juila Speller
Associate Professor of American Religious History and Culture and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Chicago Theological Seminary
Black Religious Scholars Group
Vanderbilt University Divinity School
411 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37240