Dr. Willie J. Jennings, associate professor of systematic theology and Africana studies at Yale University, will present the annual Schaff Lectures May 2-3, 2017. He will speak on the topic of "Forming Faithful Places" during this two-day event (May 2 in Youngstown, Ohio, and May 3 in Pittsburgh). All events are free and open to the public. You are also invited to join us for dinner. Advance reservations and payment are requested.


Tues., May 2, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown, Youngstown, Ohio
Call 330-744-4307 for dinner reservations.


4:00 p.m. Seminar "The Acts of a Christian Community: The Urgent Message of the Book of Acts"

Drawing on some of the powerful stories from the book of Acts, this seminar will explore the essential characteristics of a community that follows Jesus Christ.

7:00 p.m. Public Lecture "How to Draw Lines and Circles: The Christian Art of Forming Alliances and Building Life Together"


Wed., May 3, 2017 at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, Pa.

11:30 a.m. Chapel Sermon "When Will We be in Charge?" (Acts 1:6-8; 2:1-4 )

4:30 p.m. Public Lecture "How to Draw Lines: The Christian Art of Forming Alliances"

This first lecture will explore a theological vision for forming alliances as an art of Christian life. Why and how do we form alliances - social, cultural, political, and even economic? Too often many Christians have either given no answer to that question, preferring to resist forming alliances with peoples who differ from them. Or their basis for forming alliances have been shortsighted, superficial, and withouth any deep theological rationale. Jennings will propose a spirituality of collaboration that draws on a Christian vision of the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the world.

6:00 p.m. Join us for dinner! Reservations are required and tickets are $15/person.

7:30 p.m. Public Lecture "How to Draw Circles: The Christian Art of Building Life Together"

The second lecture will continue exploring a spirituality of collaboration, but it will press forward to illumine the logic of relationality for Christians. For Christians the goal of alliance building opens toward a profound desire for life together to be registered geographically and materially. We are people of community always moving toward communion. Yet the problem for us is that we often lack the courage and creativity to angle social, cultural, political, and economic life toward communion. Jennings will propose a vision of encircled life that might reshape how we imagine our work of living in places and spaces.




0.1 for each lecture. Online registration is required to receive a certificate.

Overnight Accommodations / Directions to PTS

A limited number of rooms are available on campus for this lecture series. Make reservations in advance through the Seminary Housing Office by calling 412-924-1397 or e-mailing reception@pts.edu

Directions to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

About the Willie J. Jennings

Willie J. Jennings is associate professor of systematic theology and Africana studies at Yale University. His book, The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (Yale, 2010) won the American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence in the Study of Religion in the Constructive-Reflective category the year after it appeared and, in 2015, the Grawemeyer Award in Religion, the largest prize for a theological work in North America. Englewood Review of Books called the work a “theological masterpiece.” Jennings is nearing completion of a popular commentary on the Book of Acts, titled Acts: A Commentary, The Revolution of the Intimate (for the Belief Series, Westminster John Knox). In addition, he is working on a major monograph provisionally entitled Unfolding the World: Recasting a Christian Doctrine of Creation. Writing in the areas of liberation theologies, cultural identities, and anthropology, Jennings has authored more than 40 scholarly essays and nearly two-dozen reviews, as well as essays on academic administration and blog posts for Religion Dispatches. Jennings is an ordained Baptist minister and has served as interim pastor for several North Carolina churches. He is in high demand as a speaker and is widely recognized as a major figure in theological education across North America. A Calvin College graduate, Jennings received his M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in religion and ethics from Duke. 

About the Schaff Lectures

For 23 years, Professor David Schaff (1852-1941) taught church history at Western Theological Seminary on the north side of Pittsburgh, one of the antecedents of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Before beginning his teaching duties in 1903, he held two pastorates. He wrote extensively in the area of church history and co-edited the well-known and often consulted Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia. He completed the unfinished work of his father, Philip, who had begun the History of the Christian Church before his death. Dr. Schaff also wrote two additional books on the life of John Hus.