2011-2012 Lecturer: George Kimmich Beach

The James Luther Adams Foundation announces the sixteenth annual James Luther Adams Forum on Religion and Society. The Rev. Dr. George Kimmich Beach, one of Adams's leading interpreters, will speak on the topic "'What's Past Is Prologue': James Luther Adams and the Unitarian Universalists."

Beach, a student and friend of Adams, has edited three collections of Adams's essays: The Prophethood of All Believers, An Examined Faith, and The Essential James Luther Adams. He has interpreted Adams's thought in various publications, including Transforming Liberalism: The Theology of James Luther Adams (2003). A graduate of Oberlin College (AB), Harvard Divinity School (STB, Th.M.), and Wesley Theological Seminary (D.Min.), he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1987. He served Unitarian Universalist churches in New York, Massachusetts, Texas, and Virginia, and an urban ministry in Cleveland, Ohio.

Adams, a self-described "come-outer" from fundamentalism, was drawn to Unitarianism during his undergraduate years at the University of Minnesota. He was a parish minister, social activist, denominational leader, and professor of theology and social ethics at Meadville Lombard, Harvard, and Andover Newton theological schools; he profoundly influenced his adopted faith.

The lecture will address three questions: What drew Adams to the Unitarian community and, despite sharp critiques, sustained his commitment to the liberal church? What was his impact on the Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist movement, institutionally, interpersonally, and intellectually? And what distinctive themes of Adams's thought should we develop to continue his creative ferment among religious liberals?

Responding to Beach's lecture will be the Rev. Thomas R. Schade, senior minister of First Unitarian Church of Worcester, Massachusetts, and Michael S. Hogue, associate professor of theology at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago.

The forum will be November 10, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. at Wilson Chapel, Andover Newton Theological School, 210 Herrick Rd., Newton, Massachusetts.

Posted July 28, 2011

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