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WFU launches Worship in Wait speaker series

August 30, 2006

This fall, Wake Forest University will begin “Worship in Wait,” a monthly series that brings distinguished preachers from diverse religious traditions to the university’s most recognizable landmark, Wait Chapel. The series starts Sept. 5 and will continue throughout the 2006-2007 academic year.

“Worship in Wait” seeks to bring preachers to the university and to the Winston-Salem community who are recognized for their work as pastors, teachers and writers. The goal of the free, public speaker series is to respond to contemporary issues within the context of ecumenical worship.

The Rev. Dr. Fred B. Craddock, Bandy Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Preaching and New Testament at Emory University and director of the Craddock Center in Cherry Log, Ga., will lead the first event of the series at 11 a.m. Sept. 5. Craddock, who was named by Newsweek magazine as one of the “12 Best Living Preachers,” will present the sermon “God Opens Our Ears” during the university’s weekly chapel service.

Craddock has enjoyed a long pastoral career as a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) serving churches in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Georgia. Known for his folksy style, Craddock has also delivered the prestigious Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale University.

The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr., senior pastor of the Riverside Church in New York, N.Y., will lead the second event of the “Worship in Wait” series at 8 p.m. Oct. 8. Forbes, the Harry Emerson Fosdick Adjunct Professor of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York, is an ordained minister in both the Original United Holy Church of America and the American Baptist Churches in the USA.

He is an internationally-known preacher, and a frequent commentator on American faith and life. Forbes holds degrees from Howard University, Union Theological Seminary and Colgate-Rochester Divinity School. In 1984 and 1993, Ebony magazine named him one of the outstanding African-American preachers in the nation.

On Oct. 24, Brian McLaren, a pastor, author and preacher who was named by Time magazine as one of “The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America,” will lead sermons at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. as part of the “Worship in Wait” series.

A leader in what is known as the Emerging Church movement in the United States, McLaren served from 1986 to 2006 as pastor of the Cedar Ridge Community Church, a nondenominational congregation in Baltimore. He is the author of several books, including “The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix,” “Finding Faith” and “A Generous Orthodoxy.”

During his visit to Wake Forest, McLaren will lead a daylong conference on the “Postmodern Church,” sponsored by the Wake Forest Divinity School, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina and several local churches. For more information about the conference, call (336) 758-5121 or visit

The annual “Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols” is scheduled for Nov. 28 and will be offered as part of the “Worship in Wait” series. The service celebrates the mystery of the birth of Jesus Christ through Scripture readings, choir and ensemble performances and congregational hymns.

Wake Forest’s annual Christmas Lovefeast and Candlelight Service, celebrated in the traditional Moravian format, with music, carol singing, beeswax candles, coffee and Moravian buns, will also be offered as part of the new series. The event is scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 3.

“Worship in Wait” is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Wake Forest Divinity School and the Office of the Chaplain. For additional information, call (336) 758-5121 or visit

Speakers in the series are also appearing at Wake Forest as part of the university’s new “Voices of Our Time” guest speaker series, which brings some of the most distinguished and renowned experts to campus to explore timely issues.

Press Contacts:

Jacob McConnico
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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