Enlivening Scripture 2017:  

Texts in Community

September 28 - October 1st, 2017

Please join us for Enlivening Scripture 2017: Texts in Community. This year we’ll be exploring together the impact of texts like the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary, the ways they’re being used by communities, and ways in which you can use and introduce them to your own communities. The Rev. Robin Meyers, Ph.D. (Senior Pastor, Oklahoma City) and Dr. Althea Spencer-Miller (Drew University) as keynote speakers along with Dr. Hal Taussig, Rev. Chebon Kernall, Rev. Natalie Perkins and others.  Program details to come!

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Featured Speakers:

Robin Meyers has been the senior minister at Mayflower UCC for 30 years. He is also Distinguished Professor of Social Justice in the Philosophy Department at Oklahoma City University, where he has taught for 25 years. He is the best-selling author of seven books, and a national figure who lectures on the merits of Progressive Christianity.

A frequent guest preacher and workshop leader around the country, Meyers has authored numerous articles on preaching and human communication, has appeared on Dateline NBC, numerous public television programs, as a commentator on National Public Radio, and twice preached at Riverside Church in New York City. He was the Earl Preacher for the Earl Lectures at Berkeley, California, and gave the 2013-2014 Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale.

Born in Oklahoma City and raised in Wichita, Kan., Meyers received a Master of Divinity from Phillips University Graduate Seminary, Enid, Okla.; a Doctor of Ministry from Drew University, Madison, NJ; and a PhD in Rhetoric from the University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla. His books include: With Ears to Hear: Preaching as Self-Persuasion (Pilgrim Press, 1993); Morning Sun on a White Piano: Simple Pleasures and the Sacramental Life (Doubleday, 1998); The Virtue in the Vice: Finding Seven Lively Virtues in the Seven Deadly Sins (HCI, 2004); Why the Christian Right is Wrong: A Minister’s Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, and Your Future (Jossey Bass, 2006); Saving Jesus From The Church: How To Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus (Harper One, 2009); The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus (Jossey Bass, 2012); and Spiritual Defiance: Building a Beloved Community of Resistance (Yale University Press, 2015). He has served churches in Oklahoma, New Jersey and Michigan.

Meyers is married to Oklahoma City artist, Shawn Meyers (M.F.A., University of Oklahoma), adjunct professor of metals and design at the University of Central Oklahoma. They are the parents of three children, Blue, Chelsea and Cass, and grandparents to Iris and Hazel.


Alethea Spencer-Miller Althea Spencer Miller, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Drew University Theological School, is a provisional elder in the NYAC and a Minister in Residence at United Methodist Church of the Village, Manhattan. She also serves on the Steering Committee of Methodists in New Directions, a grassroots movement of United Methodists working for the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons within that denomination. She also is an Associate Member of First Congregation Church in Montclair, NJ.

Hal Taussig has recently retired from his 17-year post as Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Union Theological Seminary in New York.  Among his 14 books are the more recent A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Including Traditional and Recently Discovered Texts; Re-reading the Gospel of Mark Amidst Trauma and Loss; The Thunder: Perfect Mind: A New Translation and Introdutction; and In the Beginning was the Meal: Social Experimentation and Early Christian Identity.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Westar Institute and of the Tanho Center, as well as the Co-Chair of the Westar Institute’s Christianity Seminar, as well as a member of four steering committees for the Society of Biblical Literature over the past 25 years.  He is an ordained United Methodist minister, and has pastored churches for over 30 years.

Celene Lillie is the Director of the Tanho Center for a new New Testament.  Recent recipient of a Ph.D. in New Testament and Early Christianity from Union Theological Seminary in New York, she is author ofThe Rape of Eve.  Among others, she is co-author of The Thunder: Perfect Mind: A New Translation and Introduction and Director of Translations for Hal Taussig's A New New Testament.  She has also been an adjunct professor at Union Theological Seminary as well lecturing and leading workshops at colleges and churches throughout the United States.  In addition to her Ph.D., she holds a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Contemplative Psychology from Naropa University.

Chebon Kernell is the Executive Secretary for all indigenous and native ministries around the world for the United Methodist Church.  He was a member of the New Orleans Council which selected from among new ancient texts to be included in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Including Traditional and Recently Discovered Texts.  He was the Westar Institute’s first recipient of its Public Religious Literacy Award in 2015.

Deborah Niederer Saxon does research focusing on newly-discovered early Christian texts and the differing viewpoints they offer.  She delights in debunking the notion of “Gnosticism” as well as highlighting the roles of women in these recently-found extra-canonical texts. She also has a passion for helping people from different religious traditions explore these texts together as this provides many engaging opportunities for dialogue and inclusion of diverse perspectives. She has a B.A. from Baylor University, a dual M.A. from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. from a joint program between the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver.    She currently lives in Franklin, Indiana with her husband, John, and serves as adjunct faculty at Christian Theological Seminary.  

Natalie Renee Perkins is a professional actor and writer living in New York City. She is a contributing writer for Daily Guideposts. Most recently, she was seen in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's production of Hairspray in Concert with John Waters and George Wendt. She is also a member of the USO Show Troupe. She can be reached via social media at-- https://divadoesdivinity.wordpress.com/, Twitter: @DivaDoesDiviniT, Facebook: Diva Does Divinity, YouTube: Diva Does Divinity. In 2014 she was named a national Young Religious Leader by the Westar Institute.  She was awarded the Feminist Preacher of the Year award by Union Theological Seminary in New York.   

Toni Anne Reynolds is the second of three daughters to Terry and Lisa Reynolds. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (M.Div 2014, New Testament Studies; STM 2016, Social Ethics), she focuses on reading the Bible with a lens that clarifies the scriptural lessons on how to cultivate a society that is embracing of racial and ethnic diversity. From 2016-2017 Toni served in the Dominican Republic on behalf of Global Ministries of the DOC and UCC churches. Toni keeps her love of scripture alive as a founding member and current secretary of the Tanho Center--an organization committed to exploring the recently discovered texts of the early Jesus movements of the 1st and 2nd Centuries. Recently returned to the United States, Toni is eager to combine her passions and training to enrich and enliven the spiritual and civic practices of communities here and abroad. 

John Rogers is the coordinator of the Tanho Center's film studio and a producer of the studio's recent film The Acts of Paul and Thecla.  He was a history major and also studied filmmaking at Davidson College where he produced a documentary on Mike Maloy, who helped integrate college basketball in the South.  After living in Belize for two years, John enrolled at Union Theological Seminary for a Masters of Divinity.  He presented a paper on the Sermon On the Mount at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in 2014 and two papers on the Letter from Peter to Philip at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in 2015.  He is also the Associate Pastor at the First Congregational Church in Montclair, New Jersey. 
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