Established in 2002,The Owen Wimberly Center for Continuing Education in Religion offers a variety of workshops and lectures for both clergy and laity on topics related to issues of ministry, theology, and religion. Annual lectures hosted by the Owen Wimberly Center include the Willson Lectures, Neustadt Lectures, and the Martha Jean Lemon Special Lectures. Continuing education units for clergy are available for all Owen Wimberly Center events. Rev. Rodney Newman serves as the Director of this center founded by Dr. Mark Y. A. Davies.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF LECTURESHIPS:
Walter and Dolores Neustadt of Ardmore, Oklahoma, established the lecture series in 1983 for the purpose of strengthening understanding of the great contributions of the Judaic religious tradition to Western civilization and thought. Scholars are invited to the campus to speak on informative themes in the area of Hebrew Scripture,Judaic thought, and Jewish ethics and art. Such eminent scholars as Rabbi David Aaron, Rabbi Malka Drucker, David Nelson, and Benjamin D. Sommer have spoken in recent years.
This lectureship is provided by an endowment from James M. and Mavis Willson of Floydada, Texas. The lectures are directed to the interests of students in the area of religion and society. The Willsons were outstanding members of the United Methodist Church. Their Christian vision was truly ecumenical in its outreach. Since 1953 their gift to Oklahoma City University has brought to campus speakers of international stature from the areas of religion, science,Christian theology and ethics, church history, biblical studies, and liturgical studies. Such eminent scholars as Amy-Jill Levine, J. Philip Newell, Michelle Gonzalez Moldanado, and Joerg Rieger have spoken in recent years.
Martha Jean Lemon Lectures
These lectures are a gift from Lynette Lemon Wert and Larry H. Lemon in 2010 on behalf of the Lemon family of Oklahoma City and in honor of Martha Jean Lemon. Ms. Lemon was graduated from Oklahoma City University in 1968 with a degree in history and worked as an independent comparative religion scholar. The annual lecture series will feature speakers, workshops, or seminars on topics which promote religious leadership and service. Rev. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor of Church of the Resurrection United Methodist Church in Leawood, Kansas presented the 2013 lecture on the topic, "Living as a Christian Today."
Dr. Aaron Gale will present the 2015 Neustadt Lectures on February 4-5 on the topic, The Jewish Context of the New Testament. He comes to us from West Virginia University where he is Associate Professor & Religious Studies Coordinator.
Dr. Gale earned his doctorate from Northwestern University in 2001 and joined the faculty of West Virginia University in 2000. His research has centered upon the Jewish roots of early Christianity, specifically as it relates to the community associated with Matthew’s Gospel. He is an area supervisor at the Bethsaida Excavations Project in Israel, where he mentors university student volunteers each summer. Two of his favorite courses to teach are God and Evil in the Biblical World and Biblical History and Archaeology.
The first presentation will be a conversation with Dr. Gale and Dr. Lisa Wolfe at Temple B’nai Israel on February 4 at 7:00 p.m. The Temple is located at 4901 N Pennsylvania Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73112.
On Thursday, February 5, Dr. Gale will speak on the topic, Matthew’s Gospel and Judaism, at 1:00 p.m. in the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel on the campus of Oklahoma City University. At 2:30 he will share slides of his archaeological work in a presentation in the Watson Lounge of the Chapel.
All events are free and open to the public.
Oklahoma City University is pleased to welcome Marilyn Brown Oden to present the Martha Jean Lemon Special Lectures on March 5, 2015. She will speak on the topic, Dancing with THE WORD.
Oden is the award-winning author of eleven books. Her life is enriched through experiences on six continents with diverse people—refugees, the physically challenged, women in prison, prime ministers, royalty, and presidents. Two encounters profoundly shaped her understanding of the world: visiting refugee centers in the war zones of Bosnia-Herzegovina during the NATO bombing and participating in an ecumenical fact-finding delegation to the Middle East.
Her books include The Dead Saint and Crested Butte, works of historical fiction, and devotional reflections in Through the East Window: Prayers and Promises for Living with Loss, and Hospitality of the Heart.
The first presentation will follow a brief prayer service at 1:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel. This will lead to the second presentation in the Watson Lounge of the Chapel at 2:30 p.m.
That evening at 7:00 p.m. Oden will participate in a panel discussion on creative writing on spiritual themes in the Great Hall of the Tom and Brenda McDaniel Student Center on the campus of OCU. She will be joined by Abigail Keegan, Professor of English at OCU, and Adam Shahan, an OCU alumni and published author serving as Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Moore, OK.