Important Announcement about MidWinters: Due to the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in Austin and the City’s imposition of the highest-level restrictions, Austin Seminary has made the difficult decision to ONLY LIVESTREAM our MidWinter Lectures to the public this year. If you have already registered to attend in person, your in-person ticket will allow you access to the streaming event. If you have not yet registered, please join us on our online platform to participate in the interactive livestream of lectures, worship, and fellowship activities.
The schedule has been changed and timeline adjusted to align with this change; see details below.
The Service of Dedication for the Wright Center is postponed until further notice.
“Reading the Bible Against the Bible: Re-Imagining the Marginalized”
Thomas White Currie Lecturer
Dr. Anthony B. Pinn
Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities, Professor of Religion, Rice University, Houston, Texas
Anthony Pinn is the founding director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning and the inaugural director of the Center for African and African American Studies both at Rice University. In addition, he is Professor Extraordinarius at the University of South Africa and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Pinn received a BA from Columbia University and an MDiv and PhD from Harvard University. He was given the Rice University Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, Teaching and Service in 2018.
Pinn’s research interests include African American religious thought, religion and culture, humanism, and hip hop culture. He is the author/editor of more than thirty-five books including The Nature of Things: Religion, Art, and Presence Together (2021), Terror and Triumph: The Nature of Black Religion (2003), and the novel The New Disciples (2015).
The Thomas White Currie Lectures were first held in 1952. For many years the Tom Currie Bible Class of Highland Park Presbyterian Church of Dallas, Texas, sponsored this annual lectureship. In 2008 a generous gift from the Currie family established the Thomas White Currie Lectureship Endowed Fund which will underwrite them in perpetuity.
“Lessons on Courage:
What the Church Can Learn from Young People”
E.C. Westervelt Lecturer
Professor Emerita of Practical Theology, Perkins School of Theology and Visiting Distinguished Professor of Practical Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
Evelyn Parker earned an MRE from Perkins School of Theology and the PhD from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Northwestern University where she was a Fund for Theological Education Black Doctoral Scholar.
Her books include Between Sisters: Emancipatory Hope Out of Tragic Relationships (Cascade Books, 2017) and Trouble Don’t Last Always: Emancipatory Hope Among African American Adolescents (Pilgrim Press, 2003) and The Sacred Selves of Adolescent Girls: Hard Stories of Race, Class, and Gender (Editor, Pilgrim Press, 2006). She has also published several chapters and journal articles on adolescent spirituality, including “Divine Fortitude: A Reflection on God’s goodness in black female child soldiers,” in Susan Willhauck, ed., Female Child Soldiering: Gender Violence and Feminist Theologies. (Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2019).
Her work as a J. William Fulbright Scholar (2019 -2020) in Cape Town, South Africa, focused on the role of religious leaders in preventing and intervening in teen dating violence. Parker served as a member of the grant writing team for the Perkins Youth School of Theology, a $1.4 million theological program for high school youth funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc. She also served as academic dean at Perkins from 2013–2019.
The E. C. Westervelt Lectures were established in 1949 by Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Flato of Corpus Christi, Texas, in honor of the parents of Mrs. Flato.
“Opening for Jesus: Preaching Comedy in Tragic Times”
Robert F. Jones Lecturer
The Reverend Matthew Gaventa
Pastor, University Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas
Prior to serving University Presbyterian Church in Austin, Matt Gaventa was pastor to Amherst Presbyterian Church in Amherst, Virginia, and chaplain at Sweet Briar College. He is an acclaimed writer and preacher whose work has been featured in Working Preacher and in The Christian Century, for whom he co-hosts the podcast "Sunday Morning Matinee."
He serves on the Board of Directors for the Covenant Network of Presbyterians and on the Advisory Boards of Day1 and The Church Lab.
Gaventa holds degrees from Georgetown University, the University of Iowa, and Princeton Theological Seminary, and he was the 2012 recipient of the David H.C. Read Preacher/Scholar Award from Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church.
He currently lives in Austin with his wife, Sarah, their son, Charlie, and a lovable mutt named Otto.
The Robert F. Jones Lectures were established in 1949 by the Women of the Church of First Presbyterian Church, Fort Worth, Texas. They continue to fund the lecture in memory of their pastor of thirty-five years.
The Reverend Betsy Lyles Swetenburg
Pastor/Head of Staff, Northridge Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas
Betsy Lyles Swetenburg graduated from Davidson College with a degree in English, and upon graduation received a Church in Vocation Fellowship for a year of explorational seminary studies. She earned an MDiv at Columbia Seminary where she later served as director of admissions and financial aid. She was associate pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.
Swetenburg is a Zick Preaching Scholar and recently served on Davidson College’s Reformed Tradition Working Group. She believes that the church is the most sustainable way to change the world even though it is not the most efficient way to change the world, and she loves being part of communities that are seeking out the new thing God is doing.
She is married to Owen, a fellow North Carolinian, and together they are discovering the joys of life in Texas.
2022 ASA Distinguished Alumnus
Fred Tulloch (MDiv’62, ThM’69)
2022 ASA Distinguished Alumna
Martha Sadongei (MDiv’96)
Monday, January 24
Class Reunions and Alumni
Reunion for classes of 1952, 1962, 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002, and 2012.
First Currie Lecture
"Reading the Bible Against the Bible: Thoughts on a Rethinking of the Marginalized"
Dr. Anthony Pinn
First Westervelt Lecture
“Lessons on Courage:
What the Church Can Learn from Ruby Doris Smith”
Dr. Evelyn L. Parker
Rev. Betsy Lyles Swetenburg
Tuesday, January 25
First Jones Lecture
“The Joke’s On Me: Comedy and Vulnerability in the Pulpit”
Rev. Matt Gaventa
Second Currie Lecture
"Lot’s Wife and the Importance of Embodied Questions”
Second Westervelt Lecture“Lessons on Courage:
What the Church Can Learn from the Creators of #BlackLivesMatter and Octavia E. Butler’s Lauren”
Professor Margaret Aymer
ASA Distinguished Alumni
Word & Sacrament
Rev. Betsy Lyles Swetenburg
Wednesday, January 26
Fellowship Rooms Open
Second Jones Lecture
“Tragedy Plus Time: Preaching Laughter in the Presence of Death”
Third Currie Lecture
"Thoughts on Thomas’s Disruptive Demand"
President Ted Wardlaw