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2024 African American Religious Autobiography Seminar

An application-based seminar on insights for pastoral and worship ministries


Sunday, July 21 - Friday, July 26, 2024


Calvin University
3201 Burton St SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan

In this week-long seminar, we will form a multi-cultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and non-profit organization leaders to learn from the poignant and prophetic autobiographical writings of Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Howard Thurman, and Ida B. Wells. We will pay particular attention to the implications of their writings for vital and faithful pastoral, priestly, and prophetic leadership in Christian communities today.


Led by an instructional team including James Abbington, Stephanie Boddie, Danjuma Gibson, Lisa Weaver, and John Witvliet, our week together will consist of morning prayer with group singing, plenary lectures, small group discussions, and film screenings, along with three hours of time each day for personal journaling and reflection.

This seminar will be offered at no cost to those participants who are selected. Space is limited. All meals and lodging will be provided throughout the week. Participants are responsible for the cost of travel to and from the seminar.


Applications for this seminar are due on March 15, 2024. Participants will be notified of their selection by April 12, 2024.

To apply, applicants must fill out an application form and provide: 

  1. A 300-word essay on why you are interested in participating in the seminar. 
  2. Your résumé/CV. 
  3. Contact information for one person of reference.