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Weems To Present Annual Smith Lecture Series at Mercer

January 24, 2007

Event Contact: Nancy Stubbs
(478) 301-2755

Media Contact: Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037 or (800) 837-2911

MACON — The Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems, Mercer University’s Harry Vaughan Smith Distinguished Visiting Professor of Christianity, will give a series of three lectures on the topic “Prophets, Preachers, and Finding Your Purpose: Lessons from the Book of Jeremiah,” on Mercer University’s Macon campus.

Her first lecture, “Jeremiah 1:1-10, Your Purpose in Life is to Figure Out Your Purpose in Life,” will be at 10:50 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20. She will speak on “Jeremiah 7, Politics, Prayer and the Prophets in Times of National Crisis” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20. She will give her final presentation, entitled “Jeremiah 9:17-21, Weeping, Wailing and Recovering Women’s Voices in the Book of Jeremiah,” at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21.  All lectures will be held in Newton Chapel and are free and open to the public.

“Rev. Weems is one of the most recognized and respected biblical and theological scholars in America,” said Dr. Richard F. Wilson, the Columbus Roberts Professor of Theology and chair of the Roberts Department of Christianity at Mercer. “Her perspectives will bring valuable insight to this lecture series and to the Macon community.”

Weems is a nationally renowned theologian whose scholarly insights into biblical text and the role of spirituality in every day lives have made her a popular author and speaker. An ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Weems has written a number of books on women’s spirituality, including “What Matters Most: Ten Passionate Lessons from the Song of Solomon,” (2004) and “Showing Mary: How Women Can Share Prayers, Wisdom and the Blessings of God” (2003). Her 1999 book “Listening for God: A Minister’s Journey through Silence and Doubt” (Simon & Schuster) won the Religious Communicators’ Council’s 1999 Wilbur Award for excellence in communicating spiritual values to the secular media. She has also produced numerous scholarly articles as well as the books “Just a Sister Away” and “I Asked for Intimacy.”

A former contributing editor for Essence magazine, Weems is a highly sought after expert on issues of faith. She has provided commentary and analysis for the Discovery Channel, BBC and the Washington Post and was a panelist on Bill Moyer’s award-winning “Genesis Project,” an analysis of women in the Bible that aired on A&E and the Hallmark Channel. She is also columnist for Weems is the founder and editor of, an online newsletter that explores issues of faith in the context of challenges women face on a daily basis.

Weems holds a Ph.D. in biblical studies from Princeton Theological Seminary, she has taught at the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University and most recently at Spelman College. She lives in Nashville with her husband and daughter.

About the Harry Vaughan Smith Professorship:
The Harry Vaughan Smith Distinguished Visiting Professor of Christianity was established at Mercer University in 1990 through a generous a gift from Dr. and Mrs. Harry Vaughan Smith.  A 1924 graduate of Mercer, the late Harry Vaughan Smith served as pastor of several prominent churches in Georgia before becoming alumni secretary and assistant to the president at Mercer in 1946, a post he held until 1955. From 1955 to 1970, he served as the executive director of the Georgia Baptist Foundation. Smith is remembered for his faithful work on behalf of all Georgia Baptist causes and his support of Christian education.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; teaching hospitals in Macon and Savannah; an educational partnership with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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