Like many others, Samuel Mills started his four-year Emory experience on the original campus at Oxford College. In 1986, then a student on the Atlanta campus, he was killed in a tragic bicycling accident. Soon after, his family created the Samuel W. Mills Peace Lecture Series, and since then it has attracted speakers like President Jimmy Carter, First Lady Rosalyn Carter, United States Representative John Lewis, Senator Max Cleland, and Rev. Sammy Clark, former chaplain of Oxford College and friend of Sam Mills.
Sam Mills placed great importance on his rural Georgia heritage and ties to family and local folkways. He was also an advocate for national and global peace. These are the guiding principles of the lecture series still today. Bringing together people within our local communities is important to the work I do as a college chaplain, but it’s also important to Oxford College and its relationship with the surrounding community. Providing space for conversations about meaningful topics like peace and social justice is what it means for us to be a liberal arts college.
That’s why we’re excited to announce that Georgia native and resident, The Reverend Barbara Brown Taylor, will be this year’s lecture series keynote speaker. She is a New York Times best-selling author, teacher, and episcopal priest. A former Candler School of Theology faculty member as well as Emerita Professor of Religion at Piedmont College, she made the 2014 Time list of Most Influential People and in 2015 was named Georgia Woman of the Year.
Barbara Brown Taylor’s lecture takes its title from her forthcoming book, “Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others.” The United States is the most religiously diverse nation in the world, with emerging fault lines between Americans of different faiths, cultures, and colors. In this year’s Samuel Mills Peace Lecture, Barbara Brown Taylor will discuss “holy envy” as a peaceful strategy for living with religious difference.
Sponsored by the Pierce Program in Religion, Oxford College Religious & Spiritual Life, and Advancement and Alumni Engagement, this event is free and open to the public, and will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at Allen Memorial United Methodist Church on the Oxford College campus. Allen Memorial UMC is located at 803 Whatcoat St. in Oxford. Following the event, some of Barbara Brown Taylor’s books will be on sale, and she will be signing books for those interested.
We hope you’ll make plans to join us for this important occasion.
The Rev. Dr. Lyn Pace is the college chaplain at Oxford College of Emory University.