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Published: Tuesday, 12/18/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Sylvania United Church of Christ lecture series to explore Christianity in 21st Century


Nationally renowned theologians Martin Marty, Alan Jones, Diana Butler Bass and Daniel Spencer will explore what it means to be a Christian in the 21st century as part of the four-part Bill Chidester Lecture Series in 2013 at Sylvania United Church of Christ.

The first speaker is Martin Marty Jan. 19-20. He taught religious history for 35 years at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he now holds emeritus status and where the Martin Marty Center has since been founded to promote “public religion” endeavors.

Alan Jones will speak March 16-17. Jones is dean emeritus at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Author of Reimagining Christianity: Reconnect Your Spirit without Disconnecting Your Mind, he addresses how to follow Jesus and experience the sacred in ways that are authentic. This lecture is sponsored in memory of Toshi Kadowaki.

Diana Butler Bass, author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture, will speak Sept. 21-22. She is the author of eight books, including Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening.

Daniel Spencer will be the fourth speaker on Nov. 16-17. Spencer is associate professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Montana. His focus is on how and why religious traditions and communities are responding to environmental issues and global ecological crisis.

Saturday lectures will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m., including 30 minutes of Q&A, followed by light refreshments and conversation. Sunday lectures will be from 9:20 to 10:20 a.m. between services. All are welcome to worship. Child care is available throughout the morning on Sunday.

Tickets are $10 for each speaker, or $35 for the entire 4-part series. Download the registration form at or call the church office at 419-882-0048. The church is located at 7240 Erie St. in Sylvania.

The Bill Chidester Lecture Series was established by the church with funds donated to honor the life of William Henry Chidester. Chidester served as pastor at Sylvania UCC for 25 years before his death May 21, 2011.

Over 20 years ago, Chidester wrote to the congregation, “I do not so much care that people remember me, but that I might be apart of creating with you and other people of faith a world community which reflects more clearly the society God wishes for us and which we can experience through our faith.”

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