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Our Shared Humanity – The 2017 Covenant Conference Our Shared Humanity

November 8, 2017 - November 10, 2017

Two Top Preachers Will Lead Conference Worship

The Rev. Nancy Benson-Nicol

Worship is a vibrant and dynamic part of the Covenant Network conference each year, and this year’s conference worship will be led by two accomplished preachers who are leaders in the national church.

The Reverend Nancy Benson-Nicol will preach on Thursday afternoon, November 9, at the opening conference worship service. Rev. Benson-Nicol has served the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as associate director, Theological Education Funds Development (Presbyterian Foundation), and on behalf of the marginalized as associate for Gender and Racial Justice (Presbyterian Mission Agency).

A nationally recognized preacher, she is also the author of the 2012-2013 Horizons Bible Study Dispatches to God’s Household: The General Epistles. From 2006-2013, she served as university chaplain of the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas. Prior to that, Nancy served congregations in Arkansas and Michigan. Nancy currently lives in Houston, Texas, where she serves as a philanthropic consultant in the healthcare industry.

The Rev. Daniel Vigilante

The Reverend Daniel Vigilante will preach on Friday evening, November 10, to close the conference. Rev. Vigilante is co-moderator of the board of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, on which he has served since 2008. In 2013, he was ordained as Minister of the Word and Sacrament, one of the first openly gay candidates to be ordained after changes to the PCUSA constitution permitting such an ordination in 2012.

He has served as pastor of Grace-Trinity Community Church in Minneapolis since 2012; previously, he served at St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California. He has preached at national Presbyterian events and also a talented musician, playing piano and singing in the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus. He and his husband James live in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Civil Rights Historian TAYLOR BRANCH to Keynote 2017 Covenant Conference

Author and public speaker Taylor Branch will keynote “Our Shared Humanity,” the 2017 national gathering of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians in Baltimore, November 8-10, 2017.

Taylor Branch is an American author and public speaker best known for his landmark trilogy on the civil rights era, America in the King Years. The trilogy’s first book, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, won the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards in 1989. Two successive volumes also gained critical and popular success: Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65, and At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968. Decades later, all three books remain in demand.

Branch has chronicled other significant moments in American history in print, digital media and film, including the Bill Clinton presidency and the role of the NCAA in college athletics.

Branch returned to civil rights history in his latest book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (2013). He has taught classes at Goucher College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Baltimore.

Aside from writing, and teaching, Taylor Branch speaks before a wide variety of audiences. He began his career as a magazine journalist for The Washington Monthly in 1970, moving later to Harper’s and Esquire. He is a member of Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, where he also sings in a contemporary men’s singing group called Soulful Revue. He lives in Baltimore. His career website is www.taylorbranch.com.

Taylor Branch will speak Thursday night, November 9.
Come consider, challenge and build the church’s witness at a critical moment

The Church is the place where our humanity—our creation in the image of God—is a reason for celebration. But the Church’s past and present, as well as our nation’s civic life, are filled with barriers, trauma, rules concrete or unspoken, that have had the effect of denying and obscuring God’s image in one another and leaving people on the outside starving or on the inside hurting.

This conference will illuminate and confront the ongoing exclusion encountered by LGBTQ people, people of color and others in the life of church and society. It will name the privilege in our midst and seek to harness it as a force to seek justice and practice radical hospitality. And it will seek to “make manifest Christ’s work of reconciliation” among believers, in congregations and councils and in all the world.

We’ll also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Covenant Network’s founding and make some exciting announcements about our future!


November 8, 2017
November 10, 2017
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