BETHANY, W.Va. – Kathleen Norris, an award-winning poet, writer and author, will be the lecturer at Bethany College's Oreon E. Scott Lectures. The lectures will take place April 24-25 at Bethany Memorial Church in Bethany.

Norris has written several New York Times bestsellers: The Cloister Walk; Dakota: A Spiritual Geography; Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith; and The Virgin of Bennington.

Norris's first presentation, "To Say 'God is Love' is Like Saying 'Eat Wheaties'– A Reflection on Language," begins at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 24. A Timothy luncheon to honor Bethany's pre-ministerial students will be held following the lecture.

Her second presentation, "The Grace and Challenge of Incarnational Language," is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. and a worship service and sermon is set for 7 p.m. Norris will speak on, "The Beautiful Messengers." Dinner will be served at 5:30 in Benedum Commons on the Bethany campus.

The lectures will conclude on Tuesday, April 25, at 9 a.m. with the lecture, "An Edifying Entertainment."

Exploring the spiritual life, Norris's work is at once intimate and historical, rich in poetry and meditations, brimming with exasperation and reverence, deeply grounded in both nature and spirit, sometimes funny, often provocative, and always important.

Norris has published seven books of poetry. Her first book of poems, Falling Off, was the 1971 winner of the Big Table Younger Poets Award.

Soon after, Norris moved to Lemmons, S.D., where she has lived for over thirty years. The move was inspiration for the first of her non-fiction books, the award-winning bestseller, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography. It was a New York Times, "Notable Book of the Year," and was selected as one of the best books of the year by Library Journal.

In 1986 she became an oblate, or associate, of a Benedictine monastery, Assumption Abbey, in North Dakota. She spent two years in residence at the Ecumenical Institute at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minn.

Her next book, The Cloister Walk, is structured as a diary of her monastic experience interspersed with meditations on a variety of subject matter.

Norris's book, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, continues her theme that the spiritual world is rooted in the chaos of daily life. In this book, she sheds light on difficult theological concepts such as grace, repentance, dogma and faith. Her intention is to tell stories about these religious concepts by grounding them in the world in which we live.

Her book, The Virgin of Bennington, is a continuous narrative in which she shares the period of her life before Dakota. From the sheltered youth, to her entrée into the New York art world, Norris describes a place for herself amid the cultural tumult of the 1960s and 70s.

A recipient of grants from the Bush and Guggenheim Foundations, Norris divides her time between South Dakota and Honolulu, Hawaii, where she volunteers at her mother's retirement home, and also at an Episcopal church, where she helps teach a religion and spirituality class for teenagers.

For more information on this year's Oreon E. Scott Lectures, please contact the Office of Church Relations at 304-829-7723 or by e-mail at churchrelations@bethanywv.edu. Early registration is highly encouraged as space is limited and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Oreon E. Scott Lectures are funded through the Oreon E. Scott Foundation, which was established to strengthen the church and continue its support of other Disciples-related colleges or institutions. Now in its 51st year, the first Scott Lectures were held on March 1, 1956, with Harvard historian and professor, Arthur M. Schlesinger, being the lecturer.