The Work of the People

Henderson Summer Leadership Conference



Sun., June 3 - Wed., June 6, 2018

Keynote Presenter

Barbara Brown Taylor is an American Episcopal priest, professor, author, and theologian. She is one of the United States' best known preachers. Her first memoir, Leaving Church (2006), won an Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association. Her most recent book, Learning to Walk in the Dark (2014), was featured on the cover of TIME magazine. She has served on the faculties of Piedmont College, Columbia Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University, and the Certificate in Theological Studies program at Arrendale State Prison for Women in Alto, Ga. In 2014 TIME included her on its annual list of Most Influential People; in 2015 she was named Georgia Woman of the Year; in 2016 she received The President’s Medal at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Mercer University and is working on her fourteenth book, Holy Envy, forthcoming from HarperOne in August 2018. Her work has been translated into five languages.

Taylor did her undergraduate studies at Emory University where she graduated in 1973. She then went on to study at Yale Divinity School, where she graduated in 1976. She was ordained in 1984, and became the rector of Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta) in Clarkesville, Ga., in 1992. In 1996, she was named one of the 12 "most effective" preachers in the English-speaking world by Baylor University. She later left parish ministry and became a full-time professor at Piedmont College in Demorest, Ga., and an adjunct professor of Christian spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga.

She was awarded the 1998 Emory Medal by the Emory Alumni Association of Emory University for her distinguished achievement in education. In February 2009, Barbara Brown Taylor led the second annual Piedmont College religion conference. Taylor was also the keynote speaker at the conference in previous years. In February 2010, days before Piedmont College's religion conference, Taylor ranked in the top 10 most influential living preachers in a poll conducted by the Southern Baptist Convention.

She lives at her farm in northern Georgia, with her husband, Edward Taylor.


lit·ur·gy   ˈlidərjē/  noun  Derived from the Greek lēitos for ‘public’ + -ergos for ‘working’

1. a form or formulary according to which public religious worship, especially Christian worship, is conducted. 2. (in ancient Athens) a public office or duty performed voluntarily by a rich Athenian.

A liturgy is known as the work of the people. Liturgies are performed by an individual or a group on behalf of a larger community. Over time, the term liturgy became associated primarily with religious worship in an organized community. All members of the worshiping community were expected to participate in this structured activity. The work undertaken was not entertainment but holy ‘work.’

During this year's conference, we will:

  • discover how liturgy functions in our churches and daily lives;
  • experiment with the various elements needed to make this holy work come alive;
  • gather for worship, plenary sessions, and lectures;
  • meet in cohort workshops to investigate the creative possibilities for worship and liturgical prayer; and
  • participate in optional field trips that will allow us to explore places in Pittsburgh that can help us envision liturgy differently by serving as altars in the world.

Come prepared for a rich engagement of your senses and soul as we join together to do the work of the people!


A general outline of the conference program is available. As part of the registration there are several pieces of info that will be necessary to complete: 1) Choice of Cohort Workshop; 2) Choice of a' la Carte Workshop; and 3) Choice of Field Trip (an optional event during the conference). Please review the details below before registering so you can make an informed decision.

Cohort Workshops: Cohort workshops will meet on Monday and Tuesday, June 4-5. Topics for these small group gatherings are: Cross-Cultural Music in Worship; Liturgy in Movement; Art and Space in Worship; Prayer Writing; and Creative Proclamation of Scripture. Select your preference as part of the online registration process.

a' la Carte Workshops: On the morning of June 6, several independent workshops will be offered for participants to choose from. Topics for these workshops include: Memoir Writing, Drawing as Spiritual Practice, Yoga and Movement in Prayer, Lectio Divina Writing, and Spiritual Origami. Again, we ask that you select your preference as part of the online registration process.

Field Trips: There will be several optional field trips offered Tues., June 5, 3:00-5:00 p.m. Please review the choices before registering so you don't miss out, as the group size visiting each location will be limited. Descriptions and other details.

Public Presentation: On Tuesday evening, June 5, Barbara Brown Taylor is  there will be a book reading and signing with Barbara Brown Taylor. This session of the conference is free and open to the public. An ASL interpreter will be present.


Full conference registration fee:  $175   One-day registration fee: $95  /  Lodging is not included in the conference registration fee.

Meal plan for SMTW: $90      Meal plan for Monday or Tuesday only: $30     Meal plan for Wednesday only:  $20  NOTE:  Meal sign-up will close on May 30th.

Directions / Lodging / CEUs

Directions to the Seminary. Free parking is available on the campus of the Seminary behind the chapel and there will be directional signs to indicate where events are being held. Campus map.

Lodging  On-campus housing is sold out. Details about other housing options in the area can be requested.  The Hotel Indigo East Liberty also has a block of rooms reserved for the conference.

CEUs CEUs will be available for clergy upon request. Conference registration is required.

Notice of Photography and Filming When you enter a Pittsburgh Theological Seminary event or program, you enter an area where photography, audio, and video recording may occur.

Questions Questions about the event can be directed to the Continuing Education at or 412-924-1345.