interior static banner

King University News :: Barbara Brown Taylor to Open Buechner Institute Lecture Series Aug. 26 & 27

BRISTOL, Tenn., August 12, 2014 – The seventh season of the Buechner Institute Lecture Series will kick off with one of America’s best known preachers and bestselling authors, Barbara Brown Taylor. Taylor will speak and have a book signing on Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Tenn. On Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 9:15 a.m. Taylor will keynote King University’s opening convocation in the Memorial Chapel. The lecture series is co-sponsored by Bristol Herald Courier.

“We are most fortunate to have Barbara returning to kick-off our Buechner Institute season,” says Dr. Dale Brown, director of the Buechner Institute and professor of English at King University. “She has been one of our most ardent supporters in her role with the [Buechner] National Advisory Board, and she has made important contributions to the international conversation about thoughtful faith and spirituality. Her most recent book offers challenging ways of thinking about the learning that comes from paying attention to those moments we find painful or difficult.”

Taylor is the author of 13 books, including the New York Times bestsellers “Learning to Walk in the Dark” and “An Altar in the World.” Her first memoir, “Leaving Church,” received a 2006 Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association.

“I can think of few voices today who are more elegant or wiser than Barbara Brown Taylor. Her always graceful, but also always deeply honest, prose helps readers engage again the deepest questions of faith,” said Jennifer Holberg, professor of English at Calvin College and chair of the Buechner Institute Board.

Taylor was recently featured on the cover of Time magazine’s April 28 edition and in Time’s May 5/May12 edition of “100 Most Influential People. Time correspondent Elizabeth Dias called Taylor “a centering voice in the wilderness.” She went on to say, “Few souls are as synched to the world’s mysteries as Barbara Brown Taylor’s. An Episcopal preacher and best-selling author, Taylor lives quietly on her farm in northern Georgia, writing spiritual non-fiction that rivals the poetic power of C.S. Lewis and Frederick Buechner.” Dias says Taylor’s most recent book, “Learning to Walk in the Dark,” “urges believers and nonbelievers alike to dive into the deepest shadows of their lives in order to confront their worst fears and to find strength for life’s journey.”

Sara Hills, electronic resources librarian for King University, said of Taylor’s work, “Barbara Brown Taylor’s “Leaving Church” changed my life. It made me look not only at decisions I’d made regarding religion, but also decisions dealing with my career and life. [Her] works are so readable. Originally, I didn’t think I would be able to relate to the author. Instead, Taylor manages to reach a wide audience, because what she writes about touches all of us in some way.”

Taylor received her Bachelor of Arts in Religion in 1973 from Emory University and her Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School in 1976. She has received Honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Wake Forest University, The University of the South, Hastings University, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Colgate University, Virginia Theological Seminary, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and Piedmont College. Taylor served in parish ministry for fifteen years before becoming a full-time teacher in 1998. She now serves as Butman Professor of Religion at Piedmont College in Georgia.

Barbara Brown Taylor will speak on “Why Learn to Walk in the Dark” at First Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Tenn., on Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. She will give the opening convocation, “Leading Causes of Life,” for King University in the Memorial Chapel at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 27. The events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dale Brown at 423.652.4156 or visit


King University is a Presbyterian, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.