Thurber Lecture Archives

Thurber Lecture — Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil

Renewing the Church: An African American Perspective.
Wednesday 19 September in the Thurber Room – Meal at 19h; Presentation 19h45-21h15

Dr. Brenda Salter McNeilRev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is a speaker, author, professor, and thought-leader with over 30 years of experience in the ministry of reconciliation. Her mission is to inspire, equip and empower emerging Christian leaders to be practitioners of reconciliation in their various spheres of influence around the world.

​Dr. Salter McNeil earned a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, a Doctorate of Ministry from Palmer Theological Seminary, and was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from both North Park University and Eastern University. She is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church and serves as a member of the pastoral staff of Quest Church in Seattle, WA.

Presently, Dr. Salter McNeil is an Associate Professor of Reconciliation Studies at Seattle Pacific University, where she also directs the Reconciliation Studies program. For 14 years, she was on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as a Multiethnic Ministries Specialist. Currently she serves on the board of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA, and was previously on the Board of Directors for Wycliffe USA and Christians for Biblical Equality.

​Dr. Salter McNeil is known as an international trailblazer, leading individuals, communities, and organizations to biblical reconciliation. She was featured as one of the 50 most influential women to watch by Christianity Today in 2012. She is the author of Roadmap to Reconciliation (2016), A Credible Witness: Reflections on Power, Evangelism and Race (2008), and The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change (2005), coauthored with Rick Richardson.

She resides in Seattle with her husband, Dr. J. Derek McNeil. They are the proud parents of two young adult children.

Thurber Lectures is an adult community gathering and growth time that is open to all.


Thurber Lecture — Rev. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim

Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love.
Wednesday 20 June in the Thurber Room – Meal at 19h; Presentation 19h45-21h15

Rev. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun KimWe live in a time of great racial strife and global conflict. How do we work toward healing, reconciliation, and justice among all people, regardless of race or gender? Dr. Kim will draw on concepts from Asian and indigenous cultures to reimagine the divine as "Spirit God" who is restoring shalom in the world. Through the power of Spirit God our brokenness is healed and we can truly love and embrace the Other.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim is an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion. Kim is the author or editor of 12 books, most recently, Planetary Solidarity; Intercultural Ministry; and Embracing the Other. She is a co-editor of the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, Asian Christianity in Diaspora. Kim is on the American Academy of Religion's Board of Directors as an At-Large Director. She writes for The Huffington Post, Sojourners, TIME, and more of her writing can be found on her own website. Englewood Review of Book’s included her in the list of “Ten Important Women Theologians That You Should Be Reading.” Kim is an ordained minister within the PC (USA) denomination. .

Rev. Dr. Kim is also preaching at ACP on Sunday 17 June.

Thurber Lectures is an adult community gathering and growth time that is open to all.

Thurber Lecture — Rev. Dr. Charles Amjad-Ali

Exorcising Prejudice: The Reformation and the Other (Jews & Turks).
Thursday 24 May in the Thurber Room – Meal at 19h; Presentation 19h45-21h15

Tragic Pasts and Ambiguous Futures: Our Inter-religious World.
Thursday 31 May in the Thurber Room – Meal at 19h; Presentation 19h45-21h15

Rev. Dr. Charles Amjad-AliRev. Prof. Charles Amjad-Ali, Ph.D., Th.D., was the inaugural Martin Luther King, Jr., Professor of Justice and Christian Community, and the Director of Islamic Studies (Emeritus) at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. He was also the first Archbishop Desmond Tutu Professor of Ecumenical Theology and Social Transformation in Africa at the University of Western Cape in South Africa in 2013. He thus had the honor of occupying two prestigious academic chairs named after two Nobel Laureates of African-American and African descent.


Rev. Prof. Amjad-Al was the Academic Dean at the SCUPE Consortium for Urban Education, in Chicago, IL in 2014. He is currently working on Christian Muslim relations at the Christian Study Centre in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, as well as labor issues and worker’s rights at the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research in Karachi, Pakistan.

He is an ordained presbyter of the Church of Pakistan, and was the director of the Christian Study Center in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, which focused on Christian-Muslim dialogue, peace advocacy, and human rights work, from 1985 till 1995, the director of political education at the Aurat (Women) Foundation in Pakistan, in 1995-96, and was a founding member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. He was chair of the Urban Rural Mission (URM) of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in 1992 and was a core member URM/CWME from 1989-1993. He was also one of the Commissioners of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches from 1989-1993 and for the Christian Conference of Asia from 1993-1996.

He has a M.Div. and Ph.D. (magna cum laude) from Princeton Theological Seminary in Theology and Political Philosophy, a post-doctoral certificate in Islamic Law and History from Columbia University, and did Ph.D. studies in Philosophy and Social Thought at Bonn and Berlin Universities in Germany. He also received an honorary doctorate in Theology from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, on its five-hundred-year anniversary celebrations in 1995.

Among his many publications, the most recent publications are:
• “Jews and Muslims in Europe: Exorcising Prejudice Against the Other,” in Dale Irwin, ed., The Protestant Reformation and World Christianity: Global Perspectives (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2017)
• "Deconstructing Historical Prejudice: Luther's Treatment of the Turks (Muslims)", in Tikkun vol. 32. no. 3 (Summer 2017), 39-43
• "Prejudice and Its Historical Application: A Radical Hermeneutic of Luther's Treatment of the Turks (Muslims) and the Jews" in Liberation from Violence for Life in Peace, 4th volume of a 6 volume work entitled Radicalizing Reformation commemorating the 500 year anniversary of Luther and the Reformation, ed. by Ulrich Duchrow and Craig Nessan, (Berlin, Germany: Lit verlag Dr. Hopf, 2015), pp. 105-142. Published also in the US in Radicalizing Reformation: North American Perspectives, ed., Karen Bloomquist, Craig Nessan and Hans G. Ulrich (Zurich, Switzerland: LIT Verlag, 2016) 204-242, and translated into Spanish, “El Prejuicio y su Aplicacion Historica: Una Hermeneutica Radical del Trato de Lutero a los Turcos (Musulmanes) y a los Judios,” in Radicalizando La Reforma: Otra Teologia para Otro Mundo (San Jose, Costa Rica: Ediciones la Aurora, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2016), pp. 233-376.
• “Challenges of Diversity and Migration in Islamic Political Theory and Theology” in Elaine Padilla and Peter C. Phan, eds., Theology of Migration in the Abrahamic Religions (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014), 187-208
Dreaming A Different World: Globalisation and Justice for Humanity and the Earth, The Challenge of the Accra Confession for the Churches, ed., with Allan Boesak and Johan Weusmann (2010);
Leaving the Shadows? Pakistani Christians and the Search for Orientation in an Overwhelmingly Muslim Society, with Theodor Hanf, (2008); and
Islamophobia or Restorative Justice: Tearing the Veil of Ignorance (2006).

Rev. Dr. Amjad-Ali is also preaching at ACP on Sunday 27 May.

Thurber Lectures is an adult community gathering and growth time that is open to all.



Thurber Lecture — Pastor Eugene Cho

The Whole Gospel.
Thursday 12 April in the Thurber Room – Meal at 19h; Presentation 19h45-21h15

Pastor Eugene ChoWhat does it mean to teach, live, and embody a faith that reflects both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission? Evangelism and Justice are not competing agendas but rather, equally important to our discipleship.

Eugene Cho is the founder and Lead Pastor of Quest Church – an urban, multi-cultural and multi-generational church in Seattle, Washington. He is also the founder and visionary of One Day’s Wages (ODW) – a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty.

For his entrepreneurial work and spirit, Eugene was recently honored as one of 50 Everyday American Heroes and the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Eugene recently released his first book, Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World?

Eugene and Minhee have been married for 21 years and have three children. Together, they live in Seattle, Washington.

Pastor Cho is also preaching at ACP on Sunday 8 April.

Thurber Lectures is an adult community gathering and growth time that is open to all.


Thurber Lecture — Ralston Deffenbaugh

The Stranger: There once was a refugee family named Joseph, Mary and Jesus
The Refugee Crisis and How a Congregation Can Make a Difference

Wednesday 21 March in the Thurber Room – Meal at 19h; Presentation 19h45-21h15

Ralston DeffenbaughMr. Deffenbaugh will talk about the strong Biblical, theological, and historical foundation for Christian service with refugees and migrants. In fact, they are us. He will give an overview of the current global refugee situation and give examples of how individuals and congregations can respond to our Lord’s call to “welcome the stranger.”

Ralston Deffenbaugh (Ralie) is a human rights lawyer who has spent most of his career working for the church. He retired in June 2017 after seven years’ service as the Lutheran World Federation’s Assistant General Secretary for International Affairs and Human Rights. In that role, he coordinated the LWF’s international affairs and human rights advocacy and policy development, advised the General Secretary, and served as the LWF’s main representative to the United Nations offices in Geneva.

Mr. Deffenbaugh’s previous experience includes 18 years heading up the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (the U.S. Lutheran churches’ agency for resettling refugees and working with asylum seekers, unaccompanied refugee children, and persons in immigration detention), six years heading up the Lutheran Office for World Community (representing LWF at UN headquarters in New York), and four previous years at LWF Geneva (also handling international affairs advocacy). During Namibia’s transition to independence in 1989-90, Deffenbaugh served as legal adviser for the Namibian Lutheran bishops. A graduate of the University of Colorado (in Economics) and of the Harvard Law School, Deffenbaugh is licensed to practice law in Colorado. He is married to Miriam Boraas Deffenbaugh; they have two adult children.

Thurber Lectures is an adult community gathering and growth time that is open to all.