Perkins Summit for Faith and Learning Slated for March 26-28, 2020

DALLAS (SMU) – Registration is now open for the Perkins Summit for Faith and Learning – formerly the Perkins Theological School for the Laity – which takes place March 26-28 on the Perkins campus at SMU. With the theme “Boundless Learning, Bountiful Living,” the program offers multiple course options and is open to laity as well as clergy.

Headlining the event is a half-day course on Thursday, March 26, taught by Will Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, on “What’s Ahead for the UMC?” The course will explore how The United Methodist Church arrived at the present moment, what factors led to the 2019 special called General Conference and its aftermath, and what may happen in the upcoming General Conference.

Willimon was invited because the board of laypeople overseeing the event wanted to include a course related to the upcoming General Conference, according to event coordinator Priscilla Pope-Levison, Associate Dean for External Programs and Professor of Ministerial Studies. Willimon will also preach for the worship service.

The program took its new name, Perkins Summit for Faith and Learning, in 2019, spurred by a number of factors.

“The word ‘laity’ doesn’t mean anything to younger generations,” Pope-Levison said. “Also, some assumed that ‘laity’ meant the event was only for church leaders, when that wasn’t the intention.”

Pope-Levison noted that, similarly, the former Ministers’ Week was renamed Perkins Fall Convocation a few years ago, to include laypeople as well as clergy.

“The classes offered at the Perkins Summit are great for clergy, too, because there’s so much more to learn than what can be covered in seminary,” Pope-Levison added. “Every course offered will be top-notch in terms of quality, information and application to a robust life of faith.”

In addition to the program taught by Willimon, attendees may also opt for a second half-day course on Thursday, “A Boundless God: The Spirit According to the Old Testament,” taught by John R. (Jack) Levison, W. J. A. Power Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and Biblical Hebrew, Perkins School of Theology.

All-day courses will be offered on Friday and Saturday, including:

“How to Read the Bible According to the Early Church Fathers” by James Kang Hoon Lee, Associate Professor of the History of Early Christianity and Director, Doctor of Ministry Program, Perkins School of Theology

“Truth Telling in a Post-Truth World” by D. Stephen Long, Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics, Perkins School of Theology

“The Emperor’s New Clothes: How Mark’s Ironic Passion Story Reveals God’s Reign,” by O. Wesley Allen, Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics, Perkins School of Theology

“How Do We Solve a Problem Like…Mary?” taught by Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, Professor of Pastoral Care and Pastoral Theology, Perkins School of Theology

The full schedule for the three-day event is available here.

Registration fees range from $35 to $90 per course, depending on the course length and early or late registration, with discounts for first-time registrants. A limited number of partial, need-based scholarships are available. For more information, contact Priscilla Pope-Levison at Perkins Summit scholarships are funded by the Howard Holbert Endowment fund.

Online registration closes March 19; on-site registration will be available for the classes on the day they are given. Call 214-768-3664 to register by phone with a credit or debit card. Questions about the event may be directed via email to