Ashland Seminary to Offer Conference Honoring the Life and Legacy of Dr. Luke Keefer Jr.

Ashland Seminary to Offer Conference Honoring the Life and Legacy of Dr. Luke Keefer Jr.

8/10/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland Theological Seminary will hold a conference Oct. 2 and 3 to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Luke Keefer Jr., a former professor at the seminary who passed away in 2010.

The conference, which is free and open to the public, takes place Friday, Oct. 2, from 7 to 9 p.m. and  Saturday, Oct. 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration is required for the event and can be completed at

Host organizations for the conference are Ashland Theological Seminary; The Brethren in Christ Historical Society; Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College; The Ashland Center for Nonviolence; the Department of Religious Life at Ashland University; and Ashland Brethren in Christ Church.

Dr. Luke Keefer Jr. served the Brethren in Christ Church and academia, and this event will celebrate the publication of the book “festschrift” (edited by J. Robert Douglass, Ph.D. and Wyndy Corbin Reuschling, Ph.D.), as well as highlight the book by Devin Manzullo-Thomas on Dr. Keefer’s life and contributions to the Brethren in Christ Church.

The first recipient of a scholarship in Dr. Keefer’s honor will be awarded at the conference. Students, alumni and community members are invited to participate in the event and engage in reflection on the implications for the commitments to the work of justice and peace.

Attendees also are encouraged to donate to the Dr. Luke Keefer Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund at the Seminary.

The keynote speaker for the event is Shane Claiborne, who will offer a talk titled "Resurrecting Church" on Oct. 2 from 7 to 9 p.m. and a talk titled "Tearing Down the Walls" on Oct. 3 from 9 to 11 a.m. to encourage the Body of Christ to be alive in the world. Claiborne also will lead an open forum from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Claiborne is a member of the Red Letter Christian organization and a founding partner of The Simple Way community, a radical faith community that lives among and serves the homeless in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. He is the co-author, with Chris Haw, of “Jesus for President.”

Other Saturday events will include a 7 to 8:30 a.m. breakfast for alumni of Ashland Theological Seminary with Shane Claiborne as well a number of workshops being held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. 

These workshops include:

· A Witness to the Good: The Life and Ministry of Luke L. Keefer, Jr., in the Brethren in Christ Church, to be held in the Shultz Academic Center Room 104. The life and ministry of Luke L. Keefer, Jr., spanned a seven-decade stretch of the 20th and 21st centuries—times of great change and controversy for the Brethren in Christ Church in North America, his home denomination. In this seminar, Brethren in Christ historian Devin Manzullo-Thomas—Keefer’s biographer and his successor as director of the Sider Institute at Messiah College—will use stories and examples from Keefer’s life as “windows” into the cultural and theological transformation of the Brethren in Christ Church between 1940 and 2010.
Presenter: Devin C. Manzullo-Thomas (Ph.D. student, Temple University) is director of the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College and assistant editor of Brethren in Christ History and Life, the journal of the Brethren in Christ Historical Society. His first major publication is a biography of Luke and Doris Keefer that appears in Worthy of the Calling: Brethren in Christ Biographical Sketches (Brethren in Christ Historical Society, 2014).

· Truth or Consequences: A Conversation about Orthodoxy, Heresy, and Diversity, to be held in the Shultz Academic Center Room 101. This seminar will explore Dr. Keefer’s research on heresy. It will be presented in a way that is guided by Chesterton’s works Heresy and Orthodoxy. Implications for theology, spiritual formation, and Christian ministry in a religiously diverse world will be explored.
Presenter: J. Robert Douglass is associate professor of theology at Winebrenner Theological Seminary. He is a graduate of Messiah College (BA in Biblical Studies), Ashland Theological Seminary (MDiv in Worship Studies), and Duquesne University (Ph.D. in Contemporary Roman Catholic Systematic Theology). He had Dr. Keefer as a professor, a parishioner, and a colleague at Ashland Seminary. During Dr. Keefer’s last years, Douglass and his family were next-door neighbors to Luke and Doris. 

· A Geo-Political or Spiritual Kingdom?, to be held in the Shultz Academic Center Room 105. This workshop will explore the differences between the ethics of a geo-political kingdom and those of Jesus’ kingdom based on a reading of Acts 1:1-8. Time will be devoted to thinking about the implications today for Christian discipleship, and the witness and mission of the church.
Presenter: Wyndy Corbin Reuschling (Ph.D.) is professor of ethics and theology at Ashland Theological Seminary. She is the author of three books, and the co-editor, along with Rob Douglass, of the volume of essays in honor of Luke Keefer.

· Violence and the Cross, to be held in the Shultz Academic Center Room 103. This seminar will discuss various theories of the atonement as they relate to violence and nonviolence, and probe the implications for practices such as forgiveness, reconciliation, justice and peace.
Presenters: Brenda Colijn (Ph.D.) is professor of Biblical Interpretation and Theology at Ashland Theological Seminary and Craig Hovey (Ph.D.) is associate professor of Religion at Ashland University and the Executive Director of the Center for Nonviolence.

Ashland Theological Seminary is a graduate division of Ashland University. With campuses in Ashland, Detroit, Cleveland and Columbus, Ashland Theological Seminary integrates theological education with Christ-centered transformation as it equips men and women for ministry in the church and the world.



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