The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church

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McClendon Scholar in Residence

The McClendon Scholar-in-Residence Program brings scholars to Washington to speak on their most recent research and to share their learning and their vision with The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and the broader Washington community.

The McClendon Scholar-in-Residence Program stands at the place where faith, intellect and justice meet. It was established through the insight and generosity of the late Rev. Dr. Jack E. McClendon, Associate Minister of the New York Avenue Church from 1957 to 1991. Dr. McClendon’s enduring passion for social justice and confidence that a congregation must be a place where faith, intellect, and commitment to justice issue forth in service remain abiding legacies of his ministry. The Scholar-in-Residence Program is one fruit of Dr. McClendon’s conviction that justice, service, and action can only be sustained for the long haul when a community of faith grapples with profound issues and is equipped to engage in a deepening of faith. To this end, he wished to bring to the church and the larger Washington community noted scholars whose unique gifts, knowledge, and lives would inspire both ongoing reflection and action.

The program continues to work through a major piece of Rev. McClendon’s vision, that is, ensuring that the lessons of each scholar are thoroughly incorporated into the life and work of the NYAPC and Washington communities—through widespread and thorough preparation for the scholar’s arrival, an ongoing presence of the scholar in the life of the New York Avenue community and intentional consideration of initiatives to implement the lessons of each scholar’s tenure at the church.

Thus far, the Scholar-in-Residence Program has been honored to host the following McClendon Scholars in Residence:

    • Walter Brueggemann, Professor of Old Testament Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary, “The Congregational Practice of Prophetic Imagination,” December 1-3, 2006
    • Frances Taylor Gench, Professor of New Testament, Union Presbyterian Seminary, “Discerning the Shape of Discipleship: Gospel Perspectives,” February–April, 2007
    • Larry Rasmussen, Professor Social Ethics Emeritus, Union Seminary (New York), “And the Fullness Thereof: Christian Discipleship at an Ecological Crossroads,” October 26–28, 2007
    • Charles Swezey, Professor of Christian Ethics Emeritus, Union Presbyterian Seminary, “Recovering Politics for Mainline Christians: Retrieving the Legacy of Reinhold Niebuhr,” September 2008–May 2009
    • Ronald C. White, Jr., Huntington Library Fellow and Biographer, “Abraham Lincoln 2009: Wisdom for Today,” September 18–20, 2009
    • Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Professor of Theology, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress, “Toward a Just Peace in a Wired World,” September 16–18, 2011
    • Brian Blount, President of Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia, “An Encounter with the Apocalypse: Studying the Book of Revelation,” March 9–11, 2012
    •  Rev. Dr. James H. Cone, known as the founder of black liberation theology, is the Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, "The Cross and the Lynching Tree," May 24-26, 2013



May 16-17, 2014: "The Next Years: The Civil Rights Movement for Today and Tomorrow"

Taylor Branch's coming marks a high point in a two-year conversation among the members of four congregations about how issues of race and class can divide us and how sharing our experiences and perspectives can begin to heal us and our community.  During Lent of this year, members of the four congregations will read and discuss together, in large and small groups, Mr. Branch's recent book, The King Years:  Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement, and consider whether the lessons of those years carry over to the challenges our city and nation face today and tomorrow.  We pledge to continue the process we have just begun and to act and advocate for programs and policies to address the issues the Branch book lifts up in Washington.  We are, therefore, grateful that we together can sponsor Taylor Branch's presence among us:

The Emory Fellowship, Rev. Joseph Daniels, Senior Pastor

Luther Place Memorial Church, Rev. Karen Brau, Senior Pastor

Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church, Rev. Lionel Edmonds, Senior Pastor

The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Rev. Roger Gench, Pastor
and the McClendon Scholar-in-Residence Program 

Program Brochure for May 16-17, 2014