An inclusive, justice-seeking church

McClendon Scholar-in-Residence Program


McClendon Scholar-in-Residence Program:

Where Faith, Intellect and Justice Meet


About the McClendon Scholar-in-Residence Program

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 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.

Our most recent program took place right after the election on Monday, November 14, 2016 and it featured E.J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.  Mr. Dionne spoke to about 250 people on the topic of “A Country Divided: What Do We Do Now?”  He gave an analysis of the election results and spoke about what people of faith can do to help heal the divisions in our country.  He also talked about the challenge of standing up for justice and protecting the most vulnerable during the new Administration.  A recording of his remarks can be found at:

We are currently organizing a series of programs during the Spring of 2017 that will feature several different pastors and scholars making presentations on Howard Thurman’s highly influential book “Jesus and the Disinherited.”  Details on the program will be available soon on this website.

During the past ten years, The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church has been honored to host the following McClendon Scholars-in-Residence.  For several of these programs, recordings are available on YouTube and you can view them by clicking on the links that are provided.

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

  • Miroslav Volf, Professor of Theology, Yale Divinity School, “A Public Faith in Action: Working for the Common Good,” Oct. 15-16, 2016,
  • Ron White, author of Lincoln: A Biography and American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant, “ Lincoln and Grant: Models for Presidential Leadership and Reconciliation,” October 5, 2016
  • Willie Jennings, Professor of Theology, Yale University Divinity School, “Building Life Together: Conversations on Race and Faith in Washington, DC,” Co-sponsored with Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, April 30-May 1, 2016
  • Douglas Ottati, Professor of Theology, Davidson College, “ Following Jesus in a Violent and Disrupted World,” March 19-20, 2016
  • Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of Equal Justice Initiative, “A Citywide Call for Justice and Mercy,” Nov. 4, 2015
  • Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, Professor of Theology at Bellarmine University; “Lessons from Dorothy Day for 21st Century Christians,” Sept. 19-20, 2015
  • Norman Wirzba, Professor of Theology and Ecology, Duke Divinity School; “Food, Eating and the Life of Faith,” Feb. 7-8, 2015
  • Harold Dean Trulear, Professor, Howard University Divinity School; Director, Healing Communities USA, “The Church and Mass Incarceration: The Challenge of Re-entry and Reconciliation,” Dec. 10, 2014
  • Taylor Branch, Author and Public Speaker, Baltimore, Maryland, “The Next Years: The Civil Rights Movement for Today and Tomorrow,” May 16-17, 2014
  • James Cone, Professor, Union Theological Seminary (New York), “The Cross and the Lynching Tree,” May 24-26, 2013
  • Brian Blount, President of Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia, “An Encounter with the Apocalypse: Studying the Book of Revelation,” March 9–11, 2012
  • 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
  • Ronald C. White, Jr., Huntington Library Fellow and Biographer, “Abraham Lincoln 2009: Wisdom for Today,” Sept. 18–20, 2009
  • Charles Swezey, Professor of Christian Ethics Emeritus, Union Presbyterian Seminary, “Recovering Politics for Mainline Christians: Retrieving the Legacy of Reinhold Niebuhr,” Sept. 2008–May 2009
  • Larry Rasmussen, Professor Social Ethics Emeritus, Union Seminary (New York), “And the Fullness Thereof: Christian Discipleship at an Ecological Crossroads,” Oct. 26–28, 2007
  • Frances Taylor Gench, Professor of New Testament, Union Presbyterian Seminary, “Discerning the Shape of Discipleship: Gospel Perspectives,” February–April, 2007
  • Walter Brueggemann, Professor of Old Testament Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary, “The Congregational Practice of Prophetic Imagination,” Dec. 1-3, 2006