BETHANY, W.Va. — Bethany College has announced Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins as the featured speaker for the 57th annual Oreon E. Scott Lectures, to be hosted by the college March 26-27 at Bethany’s Mountainside Conference Center. Watkins is currently serving as the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, and is considered the Disciples’ primary leader. This year’s event will focus on “The Challenge of Being Church in the 21st Century.”
Registration for the Lectures will open at 8:30 a.m. Monday, March 26 at the Mountainside Conference Center. Following a 10 a.m. greeting, Watkins will give her first presentation, titled “Beyond the Posts: Surveying the 21st Century Landscape for Mission.” She will speak again at 1:45 p.m. on the topic “Out of the Chaos: Collaborating a Vision.”
The Timothy Luncheon at noon will feature Dr. Matthew Myer Boulton, President of Christian Theological Seminary. The day will conclude with dinner at 5:30 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. Worship Service at Bethany Memorial Church with Watkins’ sermon, “From our Doorsteps…!” A reception will be held after the service with President of the College, Dr. Scott D. Miller at Christman Manor at Pendleton Heights.
On Tuesday, March 27, Watkins will speak at 9 a.m. on “Setting the Welcome Table: A Movement for Wholeness.” Lunch will be served at noon, and from 1-4 p.m. the College will celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Ordination of Alexander Campbell, featuring a lecture by Rev. Dr. William Allen titled “Necessary Officers and Suitable Persons.”
As General Minister and President of the Disciples of Christ, Watkins is responsible for overseeing the work of the church’s various structures and maintaining its commitment to God’s calling as well as to effective and efficient service. Previously, she has been a member of the Church’s General Board Task Force on Reconciliation Mission, Moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma, and part of the Stone-Campbell Dialogue group which looks, in part, at the traditions and history of the Disciples. She served as pastor of Disciples Christian Church in Bartlesville, Okla., and Boone Grove Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Boone Grove, Ind., as well as Assistant Minister at Spring Glen Church (United Church of Christ) in Hamden, Conn.
In addition to her service within the Christian Church, Watkins is a leader in several national and international organizations focused on faith. She is a member of the Permanent Committee for Consensus and Collaboration within the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches based in Geneva, and serves as a board member for the National Council of Churches in New York City and Sojourners, a Washington, D.C. based group that seeks to put faith to work for justice. She served a term on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and preached at the 2009 National Prayer Service in Washington, D.C.
Internationally, Watkins has done extensive missionary work, focusing on adult literacy programs in the Congo and the plight of Iraqi refugees in the Middle East.
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 57th 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
By: Noelle Wright
Office of Communications Student Assistan