This endowed annual lecture was established to honor the Reverend Edward L. Mark’s preaching ministry at Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church from 1964 to 1996.
Reverend Mark’s legacy is one of thoughtful, intellectually rigorous, Bible-centered sermons. In both his sermons and his life he has been animated by prophetic concern for the poor and oppressed.
In keeping with Reverend Mark’s spirit, each lecture features a highly regarded theologian or biblical scholar, whose scholarship is not simply an arid academic exercise, but rather something that can have meaning for active church members and others for whom religious faith is a vital part of their lives.
R. Kevin LaGree, Simpson’s 21st president, was a Harvard-educated lawyer, United Methodist pastor and former dean of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University prior to his appointment at Simpson. During his presidency, he was instrumental in the successful funding of the Lilly Initiative for Vocational Development program, established with a $2 million grant from the Lilly Foundation. The faculty was strengthened during his years at Simpson, and he led the effort to establish a campus master plan for capital improvement. He appointed task forces to examine diversity, retention and marketing, and the resulting reports led to the appointment of a dean of multicultural affairs and the establishment of a marketing division. He was widely regarded as a public speaker and received numerous invitations to deliver sermons at area churches. LaGree resigned to become Senior Pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Des Moines IA.
Dr. Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, 2015 “Radical Love: Queer Theology for Reconciling Churches.” Associate Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at the Episcopal Divinity School.
Stephanie Paulsell, 2013 “Praying the Song: Recovering the Song of Songs as a Text of Devotion for Christian Practice” Houghton Professor of the Practice of Ministry Studies, Harvard Divinity School.
Gary A. Anderson, November 2011 “What Explains the Christian Virtue of Charity Toward the Poor?” Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Notre Dame.
Professor Richard A. Horsley, 2010 “The American Jesus—and the Galilean Jesus” Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and the Study of Religion, Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Boston
Professor Elaine Wainwright, 2009 “Parable and Parabler, Habitat and Humanity:
Telling Gospel Stories Anew in the Face of the Ecological Imperative” Richard Maclaurin Goodfellow Professor in Theology and Head of the School of Theology, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Professor Amy-Jill Levine, 2008 “The Misunderstood Jew: How the Church Gets Both Jesus and Judaism Wrong” E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Department of Religious Studies, and Graduate Department of Religion
Professor Ellen Davis, 2007 “Reading and Responsibility Toward the Other:
The Bible and Religious Difference” Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School
Professor Luke Timothy Johnson, 2005 “The Prophetic Church and Human Liberation” Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University
Professor Paula Fredriksen, 2004 “The Death of Jesus and the Invention of the Passion” Professor of Scripture at Boston University
Professor E.P. Sanders, 2003 “
Jesus, Jefferson and Humanism” Arts and Sciences Professor in the Department of Religion at Duke University
Professor Marcus J. Borg, 2002 “
Biblical Images for Christian Life: 'Born Again' and 'Kingdom of God'” Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University
Bishop Krister Stendahl, 2001 “Why I Love the Bible” Professor at Harvard Divinity School