Bethany College Announces 2010 Oreon E. Scott Lectures

BETHANY, W.Va. — Bethany College has announced the 55th annual Oreon E. Scott Lectures, to be held April 12-13 at Bethany’s Mountainside Conference Center. This year’s featured speaker will be Bonnie Thurston, a West Virginia native, Bethany College graduate and New Testament scholar. Thurston’s focus will be “The Lord’s Prayer: Personal Piety and Global Justice.”

"In a time when some ask Christians to focus only on personal piety and to leave churches who call for social and economic justice, Dr. Thurston's reflection on personal piety and global justice in the Lord's Prayer is most timely,” stated Dr. Larry Grimes, Bethany College Director of Church Relations and Emeritus Professor of English. “Given her deep study in the New Testament and her fine works on the life of prayer, her lectures will provide a place for participants to explore creative ways to join a life of prayer to the task of bringing wholeness to a fragmented world."

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, April 12 at the Mountainside Conference Center in Bethany. Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of the College, will give the welcome at 10 a.m. Following Miller’s remarks, Thurston will provide a presentation titled “Our Father: Let God Be God!" Thurston will also speak that afternoon at 1:45 on “Our Needs: Blessings for Everybody.”

Ann Updegraff Spleth, Vice President for External Relations at Christian Theological Seminary, will speak during lunch at noon on April 12. Her talk is titled “Praying for Growth: How a Prayerful Culture Can Build Your Congregation.”

Monday’s events will conclude with a worship service at Bethany Memorial Church — with a sermon, “Raising the Bar,” by Rev. Scott Thayer, Chaplain of Bethany College and Pastor of Bethany Memorial Church — and a reception at Pendleton Heights.

Thurston will present “The Prayer for Praying and Preaching” at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 13.

Thurston, who lives near Wheeling, W.Va., resigned the William F. Orr Professorship in New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2002. She earned a bachelor’s in English (First Honors) from Bethany College and a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Virginia. She has done post-doctoral work at Harvard Divinity School; Eberhard Karls University in Tuebingen, Germany; and the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem.

Thurston has written or edited 15 theological books and more than 100 articles, has contributed to reference works on the New Testament and taught at the university level for 30 years. Her scholarly New Testament interests include the gospels of Mark and John and the Deutero-Pauline canon and, more generally, the history of Christian Spirituality and prayer.

Thurston’s church affiliations include the Episcopal Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She was ordained in 1984 and served as co-pastor, pastor or interim of five churches and twice in overseas ministries. She is a spiritual director and retreat speaker.

Thurston’s recent book, “The Spiritual Landscape of Mark” (Liturgical Press), won third place in the Scripture category of the Catholic Press Association of the U.S. and Canada. She also recently completed “For God Alone: A Primer on Prayer.”

Also a writer of poetry, Thurston is the author of two collections of verse, “The Heart’s Lands and “Hints and Glimpses.” Her poetry has been featured in a variety of periodicals.

The Oreon E. Scott Lectures are funded through the Oreon E. Scott Foundation, which was established to strengthen the Christian Church and support Disciples-related colleges and institutions. Since its founding in 1840 by Alexander Campbell, Bethany has been affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Now in its 55th year, the first Scott Lectures were held on March 1, 1956 with Professor Arthur M. Schlesinger, Harvard University historian, as the lecturer.

To register or for more information on this year’s Oreon E. Scott Lectures, please contact the Office of Church Relations at 304.829.7723 or by email at

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.