Posted by Philip Poole on 2009-12-18

Martin Marty, one of the most prominent interpreters of religion and culture today, will deliver the annual Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures on Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State April 27-28 at Samford.  Marty will make three presentations at Samford as part of the lectureship: At 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on April 27 and at 10 a.m. on April 28.  

The lectures are sponsored by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and Samford University.

Marty is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Modern Christianity at the University of Chicago Divinity School.  In 1998, on his retirement after 35 years of teaching, the school named its Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion in his honor. The Martin Marty Center is a research center and the major conference and program arm of the divinity school, with a focus on public religion.

In 2004, the Shurdens of Macon, Ga., made a gift to the Baptist Joint Committee in Washington, D.C., to establish the annual lectureship. Designed to enhance the ministry and programs of the Baptist Joint Committee, the lectures will be held at Mercer University every three years and at another seminary, college or university the other years.

A nationally noted church historian, Dr. Walter B. Shurden is the founder of the Center for Baptist Studies and, until his retirement in 2007, was the Callaway Professor of Christianity at Mercer. He is now Minister at Large, Mercer University. Dr. Kay W. Shurden, BJC board member and a retired professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Mercer University School of Medicine, is a noted author and maintains a practice in counseling and supervision.

The Baptist Joint Committee is a 73-year-old religious liberty organization dedicated to defending and extending religious liberty for all. It serves 15 Baptist bodies and works with a wide range of religious groups but is the only religious agency devoted solely to religious liberty and the separation of church and state.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.