Perkins Lectures






2018 Perkins Lectures: Rev. Dr. Luke Powery

The Perkins Lectures proudly welcomes Rev. Dr. Luke Powery for our next Perkins Lectures on March 4 and 5, 2018.

“Human Questions from the Divine Word”

Lecture 1: “On Disappointment and Hope: Why Did It Yield Wild Grapes?”

Lecture 2: “On Hurt and Healing: Is There No Balm in Gilead?”

Lecture 3: “On Abandonment and Embrace: Why Have You Forsaken Me?”

Lecture 4: “On Idleness and Mission: What Should We Do?”

Luke Powery.dean of Duke Chapel.environmental portrait in the chapel.

The Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery is the Dean of Duke University Chapel and Associate Professor of Homiletics at Duke Divinity School. A national leader in the theological study of the art of preaching (homiletics), Powery regularly delivers sermons at Duke Chapel as well as at churches throughout the United States and abroad. He is often a keynote speaker and lecturer at educational institutions, conferences, symposia, and retreats.

His teaching and research interests are located at the intersection of preaching, worship, pneumatology, and culture, particularly expressions of the African diaspora. He has written three books: Spirit Speech: Lament and Celebration in PreachingDem Dry Bones: Preaching, Death, and Hope; and his latest book Rise Up, Shepherd! Advent Reflections on the Spirituals. He has also co-authored an introductory textbook on preaching, Ways of the Word: Learning to Preach for Your Time and Place, and is currently working on the second in the series of meditations on the Spirituals, this time for the season of Lent. He is also a general editor of a forthcoming nine volume lectionary commentary series for preaching and worship titled, Connections.

Powery was ordained by the Progressive National Baptist Convention and has served in an ecumenical capacity in churches throughout Switzerland, Canada and the United States. He is a member of the Academy of Homiletics, for which he has served as Secretary; the American Academy of Religion; and the Society for the Study of Black Religion. Powery served as a member of the executive lectionary team for The African-American Lectionary and is the recipient of numerous scholastic fellowships and awards. In 2008, the African-American Pulpit named him one of 20 outstanding black ministers under the age of 40 who are helping shape the future direction of the church. More recently, in 2014, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College for his ethical and spiritual leadership in the academy, church, and broader society.

Prior to his appointment at Duke, he served as the Perry and Georgia Engle Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary. He received his B.A. in music with a concentration in vocal performance from Stanford University, his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his Th.D. from Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto.

He is married to Gail Powery, and the couple has two children.

*picture courtesy of Duke Divinity School,

For more about the Perkins Lectures, see About the Perkins Lectures and Previous Perkins Lecturers.


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