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Luke A. Powery

The Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery is Dean of Duke University Chapel and Professor of Homiletics and African and African American Studies. He holds faculty appointments in Duke’s Divinity School and the department of African and African American Studies in the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. A national leader in the theological study of the art of preaching (homiletics), Powery regularly delivers sermons at Duke Chapel and at churches throughout the United States and abroad. He is often a keynote speaker and lecturer at educational institutions, conferences, symposia, and retreats.

Powery’s teaching and research interests are at the intersection of preaching, pneumatology, music, and culture, particularly expressions of the African diaspora. His book Becoming Human: The Holy Spirit and the Rhetoric of Race was recognized as the 2023 Book of the Year by the Academy of Parish Clergy. He is also the author of Spirit Speech: Lament and Celebration in Preaching; Dem Dry Bones: Preaching, Death, and Hope; Ways of the Word: Learning to Preach for Your Time and Place (with Sally Brown); Rise Up, Shepherd! Advent Reflections on the Spirituals; Were You There? Lenten Reflections on the Spirituals; Getting to God: Preaching Good News in a Troubled World (with John Rottman and Joni Sancken); and most recently Living the Questions of the Bible. He is a general editor of the nine-volume Connections: A Lectionary Commentary for Preaching and Worship.

Powery was ordained by the Progressive National Baptist Convention and has served in an ecumenical capacity in churches throughout Switzerland, Canada, and the United States. He is a member of the Academy of Homiletics, for which he has served as secretary; the American Academy of Religion; the Society for the Study of Black Religion; the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality; and the Association for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Life in Higher Education. He served as a member of the executive lectionary team for The African-American Lectionary and is the recipient of numerous scholastic fellowships and awards. In 2008, the African-American Pulpit named him one of twenty outstanding black ministers under the age of forty who are helping shape the future direction of the church. In 2014, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College for his ethical and spiritual leadership in the academy, church, and broader society. In 2017, he was given the Speakman Chair of Preaching Award at the Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center.

Prior to his appointment at Duke, he served as the Perry and Georgia Engle Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary. He received his bachelor of arts in music with a concentration in vocal performance from Stanford University, his master of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his doctor of theology from Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto.

He is married to Gail Powery, and the couple has two children.

Last Updated: 10/10/2023

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