A ‘faithful’ approach to the nation’s most pressing public issues

Through a series of panel events held in varying cities across the United States, Yale Divinity School is bringing a theological and moral perspective to bear on some of the most pressing public issues facing the nation and world.

Here are stories and videos of the events held to date:

June 18, 2020

“From Words to Work: Dismantling Racism”: A virtual faculty panel

Dean Greg Sterling and a panel of YDS faculty members convened for a virtual panel discussion examining actions needed to confront and undo racism in America.

Sterling served as moderator, and the following faculty members spoke as panelists:

  • Harry Attridge, Sterling Professor of Divinity
  • Anthea Butler, Presidential Visiting Fellow and Associate Research Scholar
  • Willie Jennings, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies
  • Laura Nasrallah, Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation

Watch the video and highlights segments

May 26, 2020

“Life and Death Decisions”: A virtual faculty panel on ethics issues raised by the Covid-19 pandemic

Must there be a tradeoff between economic recovery and public health during the Covid-19 pandemic? What role can ministers and chaplains play in caring for people infected by the coronavirus? What unique contributions can Christians make to a society struggling with the pandemic and the political divisions and racial disparities growing around it? These and other ethical questions were the focus of a Yale Divinity School faculty panel discussion broadcast on May 26.

YDS Dean Greg Sterling served as moderator, posing his own questions as well as several pre-submitted by audience members. Serving on the panel were:

  • John Hare, Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology
  • Jennifer Herdt, Gilbert L. Stark Professor of Christian Ethics, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  • Willie Jennings, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies
  • Kathryn Tanner, Frederick Marquand Professor of Systematic Theology

Watch the video and highlights segments

March 12, 2019, Atlanta

“Beyond Despair and Denial: Facing Climate Change with Moral Urgency and Hope”

While not flinching from the enormity of the challenge—the greatest humans have ever faced, in the words of panel member Mary Evelyn Tucker—a YDS public forum in Atlanta on March 12 offered the audience reasons to hope and actions to take to address the climate crisis.

The panelists were:

  • Clifton Granby, Assistant Professor of Ethics and Philosophy at Yale Divinity School
  • Codi Norred, Program Director of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light
  • Jon Sawyer ’74 B.A., Founding Director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and
  • Mary Evelyn Tucker, Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar in Religion and Ecology at the Divinity School and School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Watch the video / Read the story / See the full playlist of highlights

September 26, 2018, New York City

“#HumanToo: Equity for Women in the #MeToo Era”

Before more than 150 Yale alumni and other attendees, on the eve of historic Senate questioning of Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, Yale Divinity School convened a panel conversation at the Yale Club in New York exploring equity for women and its absence in the #MeToo era. The underlying question at the Sept. 26 event—how can the best of our theologies and philosophies set a new trajectory toward a humane culture around gender, sex, and power—drew passionate and, at times, deeply personal responses from the panel and audience members.

The panelists were:

  • Kaji Douša ‘06 M.Div., Senior Pastor at Park Avenue Christian Church, New York City - full biography
  • Serene Jones ‘85 M.Div., ’91 Ph.D., President of Union Theological Seminary and former Yale Divinity School professor - full biography
  • Galen Sherwin ‘94 B.A., Senior Staff Attorney at the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU (moderator) - full biography
  • Carmelyn P. Malalis ‘96 B.A., Chair and Commissioner, New York City Commission on Human Rights - full biography
  • Josef Sorett, Associate Professor in the Religion Department and the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, director of the Center on African-American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice (CARSS) - full biography

Watch the video / Read the story / See the full playlist of highlights

March 12, 2018, Memphis, Tenn.

“Living the Legacy Today: MLK at 50”

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., Yale Divinity School and the Memphis chapter of the Moral Mondays movement hosted a panel at Temple Israel in Memphis on revitalizing the King legacy and advancing civil rights today.The panelists were:

  • Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ

  • Katie Bauman, Associate Rabbi of Temple Israel in Memphis

  • Gerald Durley, Senior Pastor Emeritus, Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta

  • Eboni Marshall Turman, Assistant Professor of Theology and African American Religion, Yale University Divinity School

  • Jonathan Judaken, Professor, Rhodes College (moderator)

Watch the video / Read the story

September 25, 2017, Pasadena, Calif.

Humans at the Gate: A Faithful Approach to Immigration

The panel took place at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, whose rector, Mike Kinman ’96 M.Div., is a YDS alumnus. Making up the panel were: Isaac Cuevas, Associate Director of Immigration Affairs for the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles; Felicia Escobar, a Yale alumna and former immigration policy adviser to President Obama; Apolonia Morales, Political Director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles; and Lamin Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Divinity and Professor of History at YDS. Moderating the panel was Stephen Pitti, Professor of History and American Studies at Yale and Director of the University’s Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration.

Watch the video / Read the story

April 3, 2017, Chicago

Violence: A faithful response to the plague in our neighborhoods and nation

Before an audience of 300 people at the Chicago Temple, Yale Divinity School convened a panel conversation on the scourge of violence in Chicago and around the country. Serving on the panel were Thomas Dart, Cook County Sheriff and justice reform advocate; Willie Jennings, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at YDS; Otis Moss III ‘95 M.Div., Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago; and Michael Pfleger, anti-racism activist and pastor of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina in Chicago. Robin Robinson, an award-winning journalist and broadcaster who is currently Director of Community Affairs at the Chicago Police Department, moderated.

Watch the video / Read the story

October 5, 2016, Washington, D.C.

Faithful Citizenship and the 2016 Election

One month before the 2016 election, Yale Divinity School brought together a leading Christian theologian, one of the country’s pre-eminent pastors, and a U.S. senator for a panel conversation at the National Press Club on what it means to take a “faithful” approach to voting and citizenship. The panel was composed of Miroslav Volf, founding director of the Center for Faith and Culture at YDS; Otis Moss III ’94 M.Div., senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago; and Chris Coons ’92 M.A.R., a U.S. senator from Delaware. Indira Lakshmanan, a prominent Washington-based journalist, moderated.

Watch the video / Read the story

The events were organized in partnership with the Association of Yale Alumni and its chapters in the respective cities.

January 22, 2018