Expressing God's Love, Engaging in God's Justice

McClendon Scholar-in-Residence Program

“Where Faith, Intellect and Justice Meet”

The McClendon Scholar Program brings scholars and thought leaders to Washington to share their learning, wisdom and insight about how the church can be more effective in its work for social justice. Established through the generosity of the late Rev. Dr. Jack E. McClendon, the program grows out of Dr. McClendon’s insight that justice, service and action can only be sustained when a community works to deepen its faith and grapples with the profound issues of the day.


Coming Programs

Due to the pandemic, all McClendon Scholar Programs for the next few months will be conducted online

  • Dr. Judy Fentress-Williams, July 25-26: Dr Fentress-Williams, a biblical scholar and professor at Virginia Theological Seminary, will speak Saturday morning at 10:00 am on “Storytelling for Survival: The Hebrew Bible and Formative Stories.” She will also preach at The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church worship service Sunday at 10:00 am. Register here to receive the link for the Saturday lecture.
  • James Forman, Jr, August (dates coming soon!): Dr. Forman, a professor at Yale Law School and Pulitzer Prize winning author of Locking Up Our Own, will speak on “After the Protests: What Should We Do Now?” Programs will focus on ways to improve policing, reform the criminal justice system and assist returning citizens.
  • Karenna Gore on September 19: Karenna Gore, Director of the Center of Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York, will give a presentation on faith and climate change.

Previous Programs
During the past ten years, The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church has been honored to host the following McClendon Scholars-in-Residence.  Clink on the links below for video recordings of many of these programs.

  • Revolution of the Heart: The Dorothy Day Story, Feb. 25, 2020, with Sister Simone Campbell and filmmaker Martin Doblmeier. Simone Campbell interview.
  • Peter Wehner,  Nov. 5, 2019
  • John Bell of the Iona Community, A Big Sing, Oct. 2, 2019
  • Dr. Jennifer Harvey, Racial Reconciliation and Repairing Harm, Sept. 7-8, 2019
  • Dr. Shelly Rambo, Responding in Faith to Trauma, Suffering, and Violence, March 23-24, 2019.
  • Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story – Washington, D.C. premiere and panel discussion. February 5, 2019.
  • Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and panel, How Can Christians Help Bridge the Partisan Divide? Nov. 27, 2018:
    • Sen. Chris Coons’ Presentation
    • Q&A with Sen. Coons
    • Panel Discussion  (Moderator: Carolyn Lukensmeyer, director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. Panelists: Melissa Rogers, former director of President Obama’s Office of Faith Based Initiatives, Peter Wehner, former director of President Bush’s Office of Strategic Initiatives and a New York Times columnist, Tim Goeglein, vice president of external relations for Focus on the Family and former deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison under President Bush, Jimmie Hawkins, director of Office of Public Witness, Presbyterian Church USA.
  • Dr. Ellen Davis, Border Crossing, Hospitality and Community Formation, Oct. 20, 2018. Holy Places: Precious, Fragile and Threatened, Oct. 21, 2018.
  • Dr. David Campt. Dismantling Racism One Conversation at a Time: Key Skills for Anti-Racism Allies,” Sept. 25, 2018.
  • Spring 2018 Programs: Martin Luther King’s Message for Today: ‘We Need a Revolution of Values’
  • Dr. Walter Brueggemann. What’s in Your Wallet: A Look at What the Bible Says About Money, Oct. 28, 2017. Evangelical Chutzpah, Oct. 29, 2017. Being Prophetic in Today’s World, Oct. 29, 2017.
  • Dr. Allis Ogden Bellis, professor of Hebrew Bible at Howard University School of Divinity. Exploring Race and Gender with a Biblical Scholar, Sept. 9-10, 2017
  • An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story.  Film screening and panel discussion with filmmaker Martin Doblmeier, Interfaith Voices host Maureen Fiedler, and Dr. Carolyn Davis of the Public Religion Research Institute. July 18, 2017
  • Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, author of Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God, Being Church in Times Like These, June 24-25, 2017
  • Spirit and Action: Learning from Howard Thurman, a four-part series featuring Washington DC pastors: Rev. Lionel Edmunds, Mt Lebanon Baptist; Rev. Karen Brau, Luther Place; Rev. Bill Lamar, Metropolitan AME; and Rev. Joe Daniels, Emory Fellowship (UMC), Spring 2017.
  • E.J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, A Country Divided: What Do We Do Now? Nov. 14, 2016.
  • 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