President José Irizarry has invited three innovative thinkers to share their ideas during our 2023 MidWinter Lectures series. With nearly forty books among them, these scholars have explored the warp and weft of issues of religion, society, race, climate justice, and theological education, and are eager to invite you into the conversation. Lectures and worship will be live-streamed, but the in-person experience—with lectures, Q&As, round-table conversations, meaningful worship, and fun and relaxing social times—has been crafted to offer a lively and engaging connection with the lecturers and other participants. Make your plans now to join us in January!
Thomas White Currie Lecturer
Dr. Timothy K. Beal
Distinguished University Professor, Florence Harkness Professor of Religion, and Director of h.lab at Case Western Reserve University
"The Church of the Anthropocene: Creating Space for Grief and Hope"
What if it’s too late to reverse climate collapse? What is our calling on the horizon of a finite human future? How then shall we live? Our task as communities of faith is to find new ways of creating space to confront our denial of death as a species with the reality of the bed we’ve made for ourselves, to grieve what must be grieved, and to find deep hope, as opposed to shallow optimism, for a humbler but more meaningful way forward. This is the prophetic and pastoral work of the church in the Anthropocene.
Timothy Beal is a writer and scholar who explores matters of religion, media, and American culture. He has published sixteen books, including When Time Is Short: Finding Our Way in the Anthropocene (Beacon, 2022; podcast interview here) and The Book of Revelation: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2018), for which he won a Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
He has written popular essays on religion, Bible, media, and culture for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN.com, The Christian Century, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and CNN.com among others. He is editor in chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and the Arts which was named the Best Print Reference in the Humanities (2015) by Library Journal.
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.
Robert F. Jones Lecturer
Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Professor of Theology, Earlham School of Religion
"Invisible: Racism, Sexism, and a Theology of Visibility"
A theology of visibility reminds us that everyone is a child of God, and all life is sacred. As such, we should love and embrace one another—not stereotype, racialize, discriminate against, and hate. As we live with sacredness, dignity, and love, we will recognize God who is among us and who embraces the invisible.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim teaches and writes in the areas of Christian doctrine, ethics, gender justice, and the social and religious experiences of Korean women immigrants to North America. She is an ordained PC(USA) minister.
The author of Invisible: Theology and the Experience of Asian American Women (Fortress 2021) and Hope in Disarray: Piecing our Lives Together in Faith (Pilgrim Press, 2020), Kim is a prolific and collaborative author of more than twenty books.
Kim is a member of the working group on Climate Change for the World Council of Churches. She has written for Faith and Leadership, The Christian Century, Sojourners, Wabash Center, Baptist News Global, Spirituality and Health Magazine and Feminist Studies in Religion (co-editor) and is the host of Madang podcast, hosted by Christian Century.
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.
E.C. Westervelt Lecturer
Dr. Patrick B. Reyes
Senior Director for Learning Design, Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE)
"Pedagogy of the Ancestors"
How do we form and educate good ancestors? Drawing on research and Indigenous knowledge and practice, Dr. Reyes will explore how we might collectively "remember a future" where our human and non-human descendants may thrive.
Patrick Reyes is a Latinx practical theologian, educator, administrator, and institutional strategist. The author of The Purpose Gap (WJK, 2021) and his theological memoir, Nobody Cries When We Die (Chalice Press, 2016), which was named a Hispanic Theological Initiative Book of the Year and the first selection for the Children's Defense Fund Book Club (2019).
Informed by his experience with gang-affiliated, marginalized Latinx farm-working communities, and administration in higher education and private industry, Reyes consults, speaks, and advises leaders on institutional capacity building for faith communities seeking to embody their vision of justice and peace. He has published research focusing on the intersection of religious practice, community capacity building, social action, and theological education.
He is the host of the Sound of the Genuine, the FTE’s podcast exploring meaning and purpose through the vocational journeys of spiritual and religious leaders.
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.
The Reverend Natalie Webb
Pastor/Head of Staff, University Baptist Church, Austin, Texas
Natalie Webb (she/her) began her call as UBC’s eleventh Senior Pastor in March 2021. She was ordained to gospel ministry by Covenant Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas, and holds a Master of Divinity from George W. Truett Theological Seminary as well as a Master of Arts in Religion from Baylor University. Natalie is passionate about working for justice in the community and being a compassionate pastoral presence in the lives of her congregants. She is a fierce advocate for reproductive justice, LGBTQ+ rights, welcoming refugees and asylum-seekers, public education, and the separation of church and state. During the week, you may find her sermon-writing at a local coffee shop, visiting congregants in crisis, serving meals at God’s Family Dinner, or protesting at the Texas state capitol.
Austin Seminary is in Central Austin, just north of the University of Texas campus at 100 East 27th Street, 78705. Lectures will take place on campus in the Wright Learning and Information Center (5) and worship will be in Shelton Chapel (4) as shown on the campus map below.
All parking spaces on the Austin Seminary campus not noted as "Reserved" will be available for visitors to park for free.
There is no lodging available on the Austin Seminary campus during MidWinters, but we have contracted for preferred rates here:
Block Code: Austin Seminary