GNL 2018 March 19 - 21: Leading Lives of Meaning and Purpose

The 61st convening of the Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, themed "Leading Lives of Meaning and Purpose: Community or Chaos? Fifty Years Later", presents a kairotic moment, not only for American Baptist College and the conference attendees but also for the Church and the larger community.

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ABC was recently awarded a $1.5 million dollar, five-year grant from the Lilly Endowment under its "Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose" initiative. This project will allow the College to lead congregations in revisiting the notion of “the call” and what it means for the individual, the Church, and God’s demand for Love and Justice in the world. Coupled with this is the opportunity to recognize the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During GNL, we will reflect and reconsider Dr. King's legacy, life, and the work that remains yet undone by those who seek to join our purpose with God’s purpose in the world.


Join us on the “Holy Hill” for three days of preaching, lectures and workshops by a world-class slate of preachers, teachers, and scholars. This year’s speakers include:

  • Dr. Paul Msiza, President of the Baptist World Alliance
  • Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas from the Union Theological Seminary in New York, NY
  • Rev. Dr. Tellis Chapman of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan
  • Father Michael Pfleger of Saint Sabina Church in Chicago, IL
  • Rev. Dr. Freddy Haynes of Friendship - West Baptist Church in Dallas, TX
  • Rev. Dr. Lee Butler of Chicago Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL
  • Rev. Dr. Teresa Smallwood, J.D. of Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, TN
  • Rev. Dr. Riggins Earl, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, GA 


SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2018
5:00 pm ABC Day Nashville Rally Service
Rev. Dr. George Parks Jr., President, ABC Alumni Association
Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church
Featuring the Beech Creek Missionary Baptist Church Choir

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018
8:00 am - 1:00 pm Registration

8:30 am - 10:15 am Graves/Sweeney/Goodwin/Turner/Thomas Breakfast
Baptist World Center Dining Room
Speaker: Rev. Dr. Charles Goodman Jr.

10:30 pm - 12:00 pm Panel Discussion on Purpose
Moderator: Rev. Dr. Chris Jackson

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm The Presidential Luncheon
Honoring Rev. Dr. Riggins Earl (Baptist World Center Dining Room)

2:30 pm - 4:15 pm Workshops (Baptist World Center/Lewis-Scruggs/Library)

-Called to Lives Meaning & Purpose (Baptist World Center)

-Use of Social Media (Lewis Scruggs)

-Pastoral Care (Fine Arts Room)

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm Alumni Meeting (Chapel)

6:30 pm Evening Worship
Father Michael Pfleger/Rev. Dr. Freddy Haynes

10:00 pm Late Night Service (Jefferson St. Missionary Baptist Church)

8:00 am - 1:00 pm Registration

9:00 am - 9:55 am Plenary Lecture
Father Michael Pfleger

10:00 am - 10:55 am Lecture
Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown-Douglas

11:00 am - 11:55 am Sermon
Rev. Dr. Freddy Haynes

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Luncheon
Featuring Rev. Dr. Paul Msiza

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Workshops (Baptist World Center/Lewis-Scruggs/Library)

-Called to Lives Meaning & Purpose (Baptist World Center)

-Use of Social Media (Library Reading Room)

-Pastoral Care (Fine Arts Room)

3:30 pm - 5:00 pm Alumni Reception (Library Reading Room)

6:30 pm Evening Worship
Rev. Dr. Tellis Chapman

10:00 pm Late Night Service (Jefferson St. Missionary Baptist Church)

8:00 am - 1:00 pm Registration

9:00 am - 9:55 am Lecture
Rev. Dr. Lee Butler

10:00 am - 10:55 am Sermon
Rev. Dr. Tellis Chapman

11:30 am - 1:00 pm Nannie Helen Burroughs Luncheon
Featuring Rev. Dr. Teresa Smallwood

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm Workshops

-Called to Lives Meaning & Purpose (Baptist World Center)

-Use of Social Media (Fine Arts Room)

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm Alumni Meeting (Library Reading Room)

7:00 pm Presidents’ Reception (Maxwell House Hotel)
Honoring Rev. Dr. Riggins Earl


The Hilton Garden Inn Nashville/Vanderbilt 1715 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203 will serve as the host hotel.

Room rates are $179 nightly. When making your reservation use code: GNL2018

The telephone number is 615-369-5900

Make your reservations now! You don‘t want to miss this challenging, thought-provoking, inspirational event!

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The Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series was named in honor of the leadership of James Henry Garnett and James Madison Nabrit. Garnett was a teacher of Systematic Theology and New Testament Greek at American Baptist Theological Seminary from 1924 to 1938. He served as the seminary’s dean from 1927 to 1939. During a portion of that time, from 1930 to 1932, he provided leadership as the acting president.

James Madison Nabrit was president of American Baptist Theological Seminary from 1936 to 1944. His eight-year tenure advanced the institution and brought forth the development of the National Baptist Training School for Christian Workers.

Garnett and Nabrit are landmarks in the legacy of great leadership provided to American Baptist College. Their example of innovation and integrity are recognized annually through the Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series.