TV Host Rick Steves to Headline Perkins 2019 Fall Convocation, Mission Quest: Finding Your Place in God’s World



Note to editors: high-resolution photographs of the keynote speakers are available here.


DALLAS (SMU) –TV host and travel author Rick Steves leads the lineup of distinguished speakers for Perkins’ annual fall convocation, “Mission Quest: Finding Your Place in God’s World,” November 11-12 at Highland Park United Methodist Church and on the campus of SMU.


This annual event offers two days of lectures, workshops, dialogue with speakers and participants, Bible study and worship. View the complete schedule here. Early purchase discounts available through July 31.


Also featured at the Fall Convocation will be Samira Izadi Page, a former refugee and Founder and Executive Director of Gateway of Grace, an organization which mobilizes more than 50 area churches to adopt and assist refugee families as they arrive in North Texas; and Célestin Musekura, President and Founder of African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM) supporting and training pastors and Christian civic leaders in his homeland of Rwanda to teach forgiveness, reconciliation and self-sustainability in the ongoing recovery from the genocide of 1994. Page and Musekura will present opening Plenary lectures on the topic of “What is mission in the 21st century?” on Monday afternoon, Nov. 11 at Highland Park UMC.


Rick Steves’ lecture, "Travel as a Spiritual Act," will take place Monday evening and will look at how his lifetime of travels, along with his faith, shaped his politics and broadened his perspective. Steves will reflect on how his social activism has grown from his travels — and how travel can be a transformative experience for all Americans. This lecture will be held in McFarlin Auditorium on the SMU campus, 6405 Boaz Lane, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., followed by a book signing from 9 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets for non-full-conference attendees are $15 per person; a printed receipt will be required for entry. No payments will be accepted at the door.


The Fall Convocation also includes workshops exploring the “Mission Quest” theme. Full conference participants choose one morning and one afternoon workshop when registering. Each workshop can accommodate a maximum of 40 registered participants who will choose two to attend—one in the morning and the second in the afternoon—from the following:


“International Missionaries: Leaving Home and Finding Home – Stories from the Archive.” Leader: Rev. Timothy Binkley, archivist of SMU’s Bridwell Library.


“How Ethnodoxology (Local Arts & Worship) Can Make Your Mission Flourish.” Leader: Robin Harris, president of the International Council of Ethnodoxologists and director of the Center for Excellence in World Arts at Dallas International University.


“Cultural Intelligence.” Leader: Robert Hunt, Director of Global Theological Education at Perkins and a certified cultural intelligence trainer.


“The Power of Pilgrimage: History vs. Memory.”  Leader: Rev. Ray Jordan, Senior Pastor of Central Congregational UCC in Dallas.


“Reconciliation as the Mission of God.” Leader: Celestin Musekura


“Reaching Refugees, Changing Lives.”  Leader: Samira Izadi Page.


“Engaging the Questions: The Importance of Post-Mission Trip Reflection Sessions.”  Leader: Rev. Lisa Beth White, founder of Sister of Hope Ministries.


The Fall Convocation kicks off with registration and a Resource Fair on Monday, Nov. 11 at 12:30 p.m., and concludes on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 12, with a second lecture by Rick Steves, “The Holy Land: The Importance of ‘Dual Narrative’ Travels in Israel and Palestine,” followed by a Q&A with Steves, Page and Musekura. This year’s Fall Convocation is made possible by the W.W. Fondren Lectureship, established 100 years ago in 1919 through the generosity of Ella F. and Walter W. Fondren of Houston, Texas.


The cost of the two-day convocation is $150 for those who register by July 31; $175 for regular registration (Aug. 1 to Oct. 31); and $215 for late registration (Nov. 1 – Nov. 10.)  Registration at the door is $255.  There is a $25 per person discount when two or more people register together from the same church or organization. Continuing-education credit (1.0 CEU) also is available for an additional $15. Click here for more information or to register online, or call (214) 768-3664 to register by phone with a credit card or debit card. 


During the Fall Convocation, the 2019 Perkins School of Theology Distinguished Alumni Award banquet will be held Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. in the Great Hall of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall, located at 5901 Bishop Boulevard on the SMU campus. Cost for the banquet is $50 and separate registration is required.


Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Pastoral Music as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.