In 2023, we celebrate Hesed’s tenth lecture series. Since that time, the Hesed lectures have done far more than bring speakers to campus. The Hesed experience has created community and formed leaders that have helped transform Austin Seminary and the communities the students have entered after graduation. Three of the last four student body presidents were Hesed chairs. Twenty-six Black, LatinX, and Asian students won graduate fellowships and awards over the last decade. Hesed leaders are hard at work in their communities: leading congregations, advocacy organizations, working as chaplains. Two previous Hesed chairs are even on staff at Austin Seminary!
This year's Hesed focuses on the theme of "Cages." While "cages" can evoke the dehumanization of those in detention, we are focusing on the more abstract idea of dehumanization all oppressed people feel when placed in cages of racism and injustice. These cages aren’t easily broken, but they can be stretched and weakened as the people within create community and work towards the incremental change—change that we have experienced and celebrate as a seminary community. Questions arise for us: How do we work within cages to create that community? How do we bend the bars to reach out and form collaborative relationships with others? How do we reconcile the cages of our culture with our interior freedom in God?
Join us in this year’s Hesed lecture series, March 3 - 4, 2023, as we explore these questions and more!