‘Beloved Community’ symposium coming to Mercer this week

Staff reportsFebruary 26, 2013 

Mercer University’s ninth annual Building the Beloved Community Symposium will be held Thursday and Friday.

This year’s gathering is based on the theme “Hurricane Katrina and Today’s Beloved Community.”

The Rev. Gail E. Bowman, chaplain and director of the Willis D. Weatherford Jr. Christian Center at Berea College, will deliver the keynote addresses, according to a statement from the university.

The symposium begins in Penfield Hall on Mercer’s Macon campus at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, with the first of two keynote addresses by Bowman, titled “Maybe You Believe: Religion, Religion Irritation, Living with Wrong Thinkers and Doers, and the Stone of Hope.” On Friday, the symposium moves to Centenary United Methodist Church on College Street, beginning with the pastors’ breakfast at 8:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

Michael J. Dunaway, film editor for Paste Magazine, will also address the attendees. That event will be followed at 10 a.m. by a worship service, featuring Bowman’s second address, titled “Planning, Trying and Making Home,” held in Centenary’s sanctuary.

At 11 a.m., participants will break into small groups in the Fellowship Hall to discuss issues raised in the keynotes. At noon, there will be a luncheon with responses and wrap-up led by the Rev. Cameron Pennybacker, the CEO of Diversity Assets.

The event concludes in the Medical School auditorium Friday night with a screening of “The Man Who Ate New Orleans,” followed by a question-and-answer session with Dunaway, the director.

Admission to all sessions is free, although a $5 donation is requested for the banquet.

Mercer Commons Director John M. Dunaway, professor of French and interdisciplinary studies, founded the symposium in 2005 to find a way to help the church demonstrate unity through collaboration across denominational and racial boundaries based on Martin Luther King Jr.’s concept of the “beloved community.”

For more on the symposium, go to community.mercer.edu/beloved.

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