Skip to Content

Skip to Content

Home > BRSG Consultation

BRSG Consultation

Seventeenth Annual Black Religious Scholars Group Consultation
November 21, 2014

BRSG logo 2 The guiding vision of the Black Religious Scholars Group (BRSG) is to sponsor consultations and speaking series for the edification of the liberating theology and witness of the Black Church tradition within the academy, church and wider Black community.

Our annual public forums across North America at welcoming congregations continue the process of exploring ways in which meaningful dialogue and partnership can occur between Black religious scholars and the larger Black community and its churches for the well-being and advancement of both our people and communities.

The BRSG is committed to creating dialogues that forge bonds of communication for partnership and innovation between Black peoples.  Central to our vision, is the conviction that dialogue and collaboration among scholars, churches and community activist organizations is essential for cultivating transformative debates and promoting social justice.  Each year the BRSG consultation promotes an open conversation that will be held in collaboration with Black religious scholars, clergy, and community leaders and engage directly with the general public in our host city as a precursor to the American Academy of Religion / Society of Biblical Literature (AAR / SBL) annual meeting. Since our founding over a decade ago, we have had the great privilege to recognize some of the finest scholars in Black religion such as J. Deotis Roberts, Henry and Ella Mitchell, James H. Cone, Peter Paris, Jacquelyn Grant, Katie G. Cannon, Vincent Harding, Delores S. Williams, Robert M. Franklin, Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, Gayraud S. Wilmore, Cornel West, Renita J. Weems, Walter E. Fluker, M. Shawn Copeland,Emilie Townes, Luther E. Smith, Jr., and Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Jeremiah A Wright Jr., and Michael Eric Dyson as our annual honorees.

During the seventeenth annual consultation, the Black Religious Scholars Group will honor Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr.


2014 BRSG Honoree

Dr. ForbesThe Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr. is President and Founder of the Healing of the Nations Foundation of New York and Senior Minister Emeritus of the Riverside Church. Dr. Forbes completed his leadership of this historic multicultural church after 18 years of service, to begin a national and global ministry for spiritual renewal and holistic health. The Healing of the Nations Foundation ( is a non-partisan, interfaith, not-for-profit organization for the promotion of a holistic understanding of health and wellness. It seeks to broaden the awareness of the inter-relatedness of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and community health. Healing of the Nations Foundation encourages individuals, families and communities to be seriously committed to achieving and sustaining good health for themselves and to find specific areas where they may offer their support for the health and wellness of others. It seeks to promote conversation and where possible, cooperative ventures across boundaries of faith traditions, professional disciplines and cultural perspectives.

Dr. Forbes has earned three degrees and has been awarded 14 honorary degrees.  He earned a doctor of ministry degree from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, NY; a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, NY; and a bachelor of science in chemistry from Howard University in Washington, D.C.  He earned his clinical pastoral education certificate from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VA. 

Dr. Forbes is the current Harry Emerson Fosdick Distinguished Professor at his alma mater, Union Theological Seminary.  He also served from 1976-1985 as the Brown and Sockman Associate Professor of Preaching and from 1985-1989 he was Union’s first Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching at Union. In 2007 he was the host of “The Time is Now” on Air America Radio and in national and international religious circles, Dr. Forbes is known as the preacher’s preacher because of his extensive preaching career and his charismatic style.  In its March 4, 1996 issue Newsweek Magazine recognized Forbes as one of the 12 “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world.  This pastor, educator, administrator, community activist and interfaith leader was twice designated as one of America’s greatest Black preachers by Ebony Magazine.


2014 Council of Griots

Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, Moderator

Former United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom

Rev. Dr. Brad Braxton

Program Officer for the Ford Foundation

Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce

Elmer G. Homrighausen Associate Professor of African American Religion and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary

Rev. Dr. Dennis W. Wiley

Pastor of the Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ

Bishop George D. McKinney

Pastor of St. Stephen’s Cathedral Church Of God In Christ

Location and Time

St. Stephen's Cathedral Church Of God In Christ

5825 Imperial Avenue

San Diego, CA 92114


7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Contact Information:

Black Religious Scholars Group
Vanderbilt University Divinity School
411 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37240