African American Religious Autobiography Seminar

Insights for Pastoral and Worship Ministries.


Saturday, July 18, 2020 - Friday, July 24, 2020


Calvin University
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. Participants will prepare for the summer by reading several autobiographies and other selected readings which will be provided prior to the seminar.

Co-directed by Danjuma Gibson 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.

Application Information

To apply, applicants must  fill out an application form. You will be required to provide:

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

Applications for this seminar are due on February 17, 2020.

Participants will be selected by March 13, 2020 and will receive copies of the autobiographies we will study.

By July 1, participants will be asked to select paragraphs from each autobiography to discuss in small groups.