How churches can faithfully respond to cultural changes to be focus of Theologian-in-Residence series

Posted on 29 January 2013 by

Rev. Carol Howard Merritt

The Rev. Carol Howard Merritt will explore how churches can faithfully respond to the cultural changes around them as part of the 2013 Theologian-in-Residence lecture series at Tusculum College during the month of February.

Rev. Merritt, co-host of God Complex Radio and blogger for Christian Century and Huffington Post, will lead the series, now in its 22nd year. The series is co-sponsored by the Holston Presbytery and Tusculum College with funding assistance from Ron Smith.

Lectures will take place each Tuesday of the month – Feb. 5, 12, 19 and 26. Each lecture session will begin at 10 a.m. in the Chalmers Conference Center in the Niswonger Commons. The sessions typically end around 2 p.m., and lunch in the college’s cafeteria is included. There is no admission fee to the lectures.

As a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), this year’s speaker has served congregations in the swamps of Cajun Louisiana, a bayside village in Rhode Island and in an urban neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Rev. Merritt has authored two books: “Tribal Church,” a look at how churches can provide a safe, supportive place for young adults while nurturing relationships between the generations and fostering spiritual growth, and “Reframing Hope,” which explores how the treasures and blessings of the inherited church can join with new ministries to create a vibrant church to serve its community. ­

During the Theologian sessions, Merritt will lead participants in an exploration of how generational dynamics, technological advancements and evolving communication have changed the culture and how they affect the ministry of the church. Participants will also explore how God is working in the current cultural landscape.

The opening session of the lecture series on Feb. 5 will explore how power structures are changing in a new generation. The Feb. 12 session will focus on how technologies, such as social media, are changing the way people do “church” together.

Why the art of narrative is important in the Google generation and what those narratives look like are the focus for the session on Feb. 19. The series concludes Feb. 26 with a session examining how congregations can faithfully respond to these shifts in culture.

Although the series has no admission fee, reservations are required. For more information or to make a reservation for the series, please call 423.636.7304 or email

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