April 15, 2009 — Activist, pastor and bestselling author John M. Perkins, founder of the Voice of Calvary Ministries, will present two lectures at the University of Virginia.
Perkins will engage in a conversation with U.Va. religious studies professor Charles Marsh, director of the Project on Lived Theology, on April 22 at 7 p.m. in the McLeod Hall auditorium.
On April 23, from 9 a.m. to noon, Perkins will give a seminar, "American Evangelicalism and the Practices of Peace," at St. Paul's Episcopal Church's parish hall, 1700 University Ave.
Perkins is a sharecropper's son who grew up in New Hebron, Miss. amidst dire poverty. Fleeing to California at age 17 after his older brother's murder at the hands of a small-town marshal, he vowed never to return to the South. But after a religious experience in 1960, Perkins returned to Mendenhall, Miss. to develop a ministry in poor rural communities. While in Mississippi, his support and leadership in civil rights demonstrations resulted in repeated harassment, beatings and imprisonment.
Perkins is the author of "A Quiet Revolution: Restoring At-Risk Communities" and "Let Justice Roll Down," a memoir of his childhood in the segregated South and his call to racial reconciliation and community building.
Perkins has been a regular speaker at the annual Urbana Youth Leadership Conferences, and he has served on the boards of Bread for the World, the National Black Evangelical Association and Koinonia Partners in Americus, Ga. His writings on faith, racial reconciliation and poverty have appeared in Sojourners, Christianity Today and Urban Family. In 1989, Perkins founded the Christian Community Development Association, the organizational infrastructure of the faith-based community-building movement, which now includes 8,000 individual members, 500 member organizations and sites in more than 100 cities.
These lectures are part of the 2009 Spring Institute on Lived Theology: American Evangelicalism and the Practices of Peace: The Lived Theology of John M. Perkins, which is sponsored by the Project on Lived Theology.