2020 Symposium Recap

By: Northern Seminary

August 12, 2020 Northern’s Southside Center for Urban Leadership hosted its annual Faith Leaders Symposium. The prevailing conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic moved us to present the symposium in a virtual format. The symposium has four primary objectives: Sharing cutting edge ministry tools and techniques for faith leaders,  marketing Northern as a whole and the Master of Arts in Urban Leadership degree program in particular, recruiting new students, and raising funds for the support of the Center and the degree program. Pivoting from a gathered symposium to a virtual symposium was seamless for our institution, we were able to register 150 persons for the symposium from across the nation from northern Michigan to Houston, Texas and from Washington, DC to Los Angeles, CA and all points in between.

The participants were as diverse as their locations; males, females, ministers, pastors, seminary students, denominational leaders, lay-leaders, young leaders and the young at heart.

The Symposium featured four webinars on the following topics: Preaching in a Pandemic – Speaking Truth to Power and Encouragement to the Powerless, Spiritual and Physical Personal Protection Equipment, Social Justice and the Black Lives Matter Movement, and Lessons Learned from the Pandemic. Our presenters included Dr. Adron Robinson, Rev. Gail Rice, Rev. James Brooks, Dr. Rochelle Bello, Dr. Wayne Gordon, Dr. Marshall Hatch, Dr. Janette Wilson, and Dr. A. Wayne Johnson. Each webinar had engaging, robust, and interactive discussions. Viewers were able to ask questions and make comments in the chat box so the webinar panelists could respond in real time.

Some of the viewers had these things to say; “I am grateful that the institution was able to shift from a gathered event to a virtual event; that shift speaks to the challenges that ministries are facing now, in real time.” “The symposium was informative and insightful, information I can start using now.” “The drive in Bible School challenged my perspective on the delivery of Christian education.” “I have a note pad filled with notes and I enjoyed the diverse perspectives of the panelists especially related to social justice/liberation theology of the white church and the African American church.” “I am thankful for the various books that were recommended, one in particular, The Cross and the Lynching Tree”.  “The symposium was a reflection of what we need to do and be as the church in keeping our hands and eyes on the shifting cultural context of ministry.”