Contact: Jenni Smith
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650


December 5, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University will host its 29th annual Laity Week March 7-10 with programs on topics such as the Bible and the problem of evil, recognition of outstanding laity and a keynote lecture by Race Matters author Cornel West, who will discuss “Church and Race.”

More than 300 laypersons from across the country representing various denominations are expected to attend this year’s Laity Week workshops and discussions on social issues as they relate to lay ministry.

West, one of the first black scholars appointed to Harvard University’s highest faculty posts, will give the keynote lecture at 6 p.m., Saturday, March 9, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer. West is the Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor at Harvard and has been called “one of America’s most important public intellectuals” by Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies, with whom West has co-authored two books.

The Woodrow B. Seals Laity Award will be presented at a noon luncheon Saturday, March 9, at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The annual award is presented to persons who have exhibited a Christian faith and commitment exemplified by the late Judge Seals, a senior U.S. district court judge whose interest and energy were instrumental in establishing Laity Week at SMU.

A dinner and panel discussion Friday evening on ethics and evil will feature Perkins School of Theology Dean Robin Lovin, who recently was named SMU’s Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics.

Laity Week workshops and speakers include several Perkins School of Theology faculty including:

  • “Family Spirituality,” presented by Associate Professor of Pastoral Care Patricia Davis.
  • “Spiritual Practice For Daily Living: Christian and Interfaith Resources,” presented by Professor of World Religions and Spirituality Ruben Habito.
  • “When Suffering Persists,” presented by Director of Spiritual Life and Formation Frederick Schmidt.
  • “Death and After-Life in the New Testament,” presented by Assistant Professor of New Testament Jaime Clark-Soles.
  • “What Should the Church Do with Tiger Woods? Youth and Racial Identity,” presented by Assistant Professor of Christian Education Evelyn Parker.

Laity Week is part of Perkins’ commitment to meet the educational needs of laity. In addition, Perkins reaches out to laity through programs in Amarillo, Houston and Anchorage.

Perkins School of Theology was founded in 1915 by the Methodist Episcopal Church South, now the United Methodist Church, as one of the original schools of Southern Methodist University. Offering a variety of degree programs, it remains one of the few university-related theological schools in the nation. For more information, call 1-888-THEOLOGY, ext. 4, or (214) 768-3515.