TCU, Brite Divinity School, University Christian Church celebrate 91 years of open hearts, minds, conversation at annual conferencedfwnewsa | February 2, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News
Ministry Week, a free annual faith conference that provides clergy and people of faith a space to engage in a series of lectures, workshops and worship services with renowned preachers across the country, starts Feb. 5 and runs through Feb. 7. The program has been co-sponsored by Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University and University Christian Church for 91 years. (Courtesy photo | Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University)
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Even though Nathan Russell enjoys leading a Disciples of Christ church in Ohio, he says he still bleeds Texas. So much so that he makes a point to travel across the country for the Fort Worth faith conference he’s been attending since 2012.
Ever since he was a Brite Divinity School student, Russell has attended Ministry Week, a free annual faith conference that provides clergy and people of faith a space to engage in a series of lectures, workshops and worship services with renowned preachers from across the country. The program is co-sponsored by Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University and University Christian Church.
“Ministry Week is like an undergrad homecoming for clergy,” Russell said. “All of Ministry Week is incredibly transformative for me, and it has always spoken to the different roles in which I have been at the time.”
Originally known as Ministers Week, the conference celebrates its 91st anniversary this year with a name change to “Ministry Week,” in an effort to cast a wider net and attract people in ministerial work who aren’t ministers.
If you go
What: Ministry Week
When: Feb. 5-7
Where: Broadway Baptist Church, 305 W. Broadway Ave.
Price: The conference is free to attend. Register for the event here.
The program initially began as a lecture series in 1888 and later became the weeklong Ministers Week in 1933. Over time, the duration of the conference has changed to three days.
“Just as life changed and life got busier,it got more and more difficult for pastors and participants to be able to get away for that length of time,” said the Rev. Dr. Lizette Acosta, Brite Divinity School’s director of the Center for Lifelong Learning.
Despite its shorter length, the conference’s mission to engage people of faith in conversations about topics and issues churches face hasn’t changed, Acosta said. Some topics for the 2024 conference schedule include health equity, the environment and justice-centered worship.
“The hope is that these are conversation starters,” Acosta said. “In a sense that these are things that we felt were relevant to the general topic and that are relevant to the things that are going on in the world right now.”
The Rev. Ryon Price, senior pastor of Broadway Baptist Church, is to moderate a panel discussion about how churches and faith-based groups can address the needs of their communities beyond charity.
The panel, “From Charity Towards Justice: Faith-Based Organizing for Community Change,” is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 7 inside Broadway Baptist Church’s sanctuary.
“Many churches do charity very well and charity is necessary. But charity is mostly private and individual. Justice seeks to eliminate suffering at a more systemic level and that necessitates a political response. Charity and justice are both necessary and they are not mutually exclusive,” Price said.
Russell was a member of Broadway before becoming pastor of the Ohio church in 2018. He plans to attend the panel moderated by Price in hopes of bringing back thoughts and ideas to his church.
“I can hardly wait,” Russell said. “These are the people I want to learn from and follow in their examples and their leadership.”
Marissa Greene is a Report for America corps member, covering faith for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at email@example.com or @marissaygreene.
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