Church of the 21st Century

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The Church in the 21st Century

A three-day conversation at Yale Divinity School


Wednesday Evening until Friday Afternoon

April 4, 5 and 6, 2018

in the Old Refectory, Yale Divinity School


  • Two decades into the 21st Century, and it is time to reflect on the current state of the Church. Join us as we consider the future of the theological conversation, and the practical ways that the faithful are seeking to advance the work of the Church in the decades to come.


  • 15-20 minute talks, featuring leading voices in church and academy, in TedTalk style presentations
  • Large group conversations, led by YDS professors
  • Smaller group reflections, led by current YDS students
  • Including lots of music, short films (by the Nantucket Project!), the arts
  • $100 registration fee includes all events, all meals, but no housing


Wednesday, April 4

 7 p.m. The Future of Theology: What will the conversation be about in the next 20 years?

9 p.m. Wine and Cheese Reception

Thursday, April 5

8:00 Gathering over coffee and bagels

8:45 a.m. The Future of the Institutional Church – Expansive Visions for the Future Church

  • Shane Claibourne – Christian author, leading figure in the New Monasticism movement the new Monasticism
  • Dori Baker, Forum for Theological Exploration (Young Adults leading Innovative Communities)
  • Neichelle Guidry, Newly Appointed Dean of Sisters Chapel, Spelman College
  • Group conversation led by Bill Goettler, Associate Dean, Leadership Initiatives

10:30 Chapel – Sung Morning Prayer, in Marquand Chapel

11:00 Coffee, with YDS students

12 noon – Buffet Lunch, in the Old Refectory

1:30 - The Future of Theological Education – Teaching About God for Tomorrow’s World

  • Javier Viera, Vice Provost and Dean of the Theological School, Drew University Theological School, Drew University
  • Frank Yamada, Executive Director of Association of Theological Schools
  • Serene Jones, President, Union Theological Seminary, NYC
  • Group discussion, led by Andrew McGowan, Dean, Berkeley Divinity School

3:30 – Break

4 p.m. The Future of Christianity Across the World – Stories of Vital Christian Faith

  • Emmanuel Y Lartey, Pastor from Ghana, Professor at Candler School of Theology
  • Tom Hastings, Executive Director, Overseas Ministry Study Center, New Haven 
  • Group discussion, led by Chloë Starr, Professor of Asian Christianity and Theology

6:15 p.m. Dinner, buffet, in Old Refectory

7:30 p.m. Thursday Evening in Marquand Chapel
Songs of the church of the 21st Century – A Hymn Sing!

Friday, April 6

8:00 Gathering over coffee and bagels

8:45 Future of the Earth, Eco-theology and the work of the church

  • Willis Jenkins, Professor of Religion, Ethics, & Environment, University of Virginia
  • Melanie Harris, EcoWomanism, Director of African American and Africana Studies and Professor of Religion and Ethics at Texas Christian University
  • The Rev. Stephen Blackmer, Church in the Woods, Canterbury, NH
  • Group discussion led by Jennifer Herdt, Academic Dean, Yale Divinity School

10:15 - Break

10:45 - The Future of Prophetic Witness and Social Transformation

  • Amy Butler, Pastor of Riverside Church, New York City 
  • Kevin Wright, Executive Minister of Program, Riverside Church, New York City
  • Christian Peele, Executive Minister, Riverside Church, New York City
  • Group discussion led by Almeda Wright

1 p.m. Boxed Lunches for the road!

*schedule subject to revision

William Goettler

William Goettler

Associate Dean for Assessment & Ministerial Studies
(203) 432-9896


Ministerial Studies