Bethany College Announces 2011 Oreon E. Scott Lectures

BETHANY, W.Va. — Bethany College has announced the 56th annual Oreon E. Scott Lectures, to be held May 2-3 at Bethany’s Mountainside Conference Center. This year’s featured speaker will be Dr. Bruce Epperly, director of continuing education and professor of practical theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary. The event focus will be “Loosely Christian: Theology, Spirituality, and Mission for a Postmodern Church.”
"How do we preach the Gospel, and what is the Gospel we preach, when people wear their Christianity loosely, fitting ever more things into their lives that disrupt, displace or dislocate traditional church-centered Christianity? What's a pastor to say or do in the Babel of our socially connected, constantly distracted world? What does the Gospel sound like, what does a vital faith community look like in the crackle and static of the day,” asked Dr. Larry Grimes, Bethany College director of church relations and emeritus professor of English. “Rev. Bruce Epperly will lead us toward answers to these perplexing questions. We are blessed as we welcome him to this year's lecture series."

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, May 2 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, Epperly will provide a presentation titled “The Promise of Postmodernism: When the Margins Become the Frontiers." He will also speak that afternoon at 1:45 on “Making it Up as We Go Along: Acts of the Apostles as a Guidepost for Postmodern Mission.”  

Dr. James Johnson, president of Lexington Theological Seminary, will speak during the Timothy Luncheon at noon on May 2.

Monday’s events will conclude with a worship service at Bethany Memorial Church — with a sermon by Epperly, “Beyond Scarcity Thinking: Living by Adventure and Abundance (I Kings 17:8-16 and Luke 5:1-11)”  — and a reception at Pendleton Heights.

Epperly will present “Postmodern Visions and Spiritual Practices: Philippians as a Pathway to Postmodern Spirituality” at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 3.
A 200th Anniversary Celebration will be held at Brush Run Church on May 3. A luncheon will be held at noon, with lectures and a site tour from 1-4 p.m. Dr. Hal Doster will speak on “Brush Run Church: A History in Words and Images,” and Dr. Peter Morgan will present “Echoes from Brush Run Worship.”
Epperly has served as director of continuing education and professor of practical theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary since 2003. Prior to coming to Lancaster Theological Seminary, Epperly served as director of the protestant ministry and adjunct professor in theology, spirituality and medicine at Georgetown University and Medical School (1982-1999); and acting associate dean, assistant to the president for on-line programs, and adjunct professor in theology, spirituality and pastoral care at Wesley Theological Seminary (2000-2003). He has also served as an interim minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ congregations as well as the director of the Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health.
At Lancaster Theological Seminary, he directs innovative programs in pastoral spirituality and excellence for every season of ministry; lay and clergy theological education; and congregational transformation, worship and adult education.
An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, Epperly has written 17 books in the areas of theology, spirituality, ministerial excellence and spiritual formation, as well as healing and wholeness, including “Holy Adventure: Forty One Days of Audacious Living”; “God’s Touch: Faith, Wholeness and the Healing Miracles of Jesus”; and “Healing Worship: Purpose and Practice.” Bruce and Kate Epperly’s trilogy on ministerial excellence and spirituality includes “Feed the Fire: Avoiding Clergy Burnout”; “Four Seasons of Ministry: Gathering a Harvest of Righteousness”; and “Tending to the Holy: The Practice of the Presence of God in Ministry.” In 2011 the following books will be released: “Starting with Spirit: Nurturing Your Call to Pastoral Ministry,” “Emerging Process: Adventurous Theology for a Missional Church” and “Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed.”
Epperly speaks regularly throughout North America on subjects such as healing and wholeness, personal and congregational spiritual formation, process theology, ministerial spirituality and excellence, emerging Christianity, and progressive theology and spirituality. He has appeared on “Nightline,” “ABC World News Tonight” and “PBS News Hour.”

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 56th 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.