2019 Davis Lectures Series to feature Dr. Gary West

Posted at 3:17 PM on Oct 9, 2019

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Special to SVLfreenews.com

Dr. Gary West, a well-known minister, storyteller and teacher, will be the guest lecturer for the 2019 Davis Lectures Series, scheduled for Oct. 27-28 at Grace Baptist Church in Statesville.

The minister of Grace for more than 15 years until his retirement in 2016, West was instrumental in the establishment of the Davis Lectures in 2002 and its growing respect and support in the community. The two-night series is a combination study, lecture and dialogue from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

West’s topic for the two-night series is “Remnants of a Radical Faith,” which will focus on “Deconstruction” on Oct. 27 and “Reconstruction” on Oct. 28. He will also preach during the Sunday morning worship at 11 a.m. on “The Radicality of the Gospel.”

The public is invited to attend these programs and there is no charge.

Dr. Stephen Shoemaker, current pastor of Grace, said the church is “thrilled" to have Gary return for the lectures. "He is an extraordinary teacher and preacher who doesn’t dodge hard topics or questions,” said Shoemaker.

West will explore the beginning of the movement now known as Christianity and the two Jewish men – Jesus and Paul the Apostle – whose messages were the source of its beginning. West offers that there were actually two movements: the Jesus movement, which flowed from the teachings of Jesus, and the Christ movement, which resulted from Paul’s impact following the death/resurrection of Jesus.

In looking at what movement is in place today, West will examine the development of these movements and his belief that one survived strongly and the other faded. He will seek to deconstruct what appears as Christianity today and re-construct what was originally intended, asking the question: “Is it possible to shape a ‘way’ that will send Christianity in a different direction and restore a sense of vitality to a movement that has been hijacked by power brokers in an on-going effort for almost 2,000 years?”

Shoemaker invites the community to “join us for what promises to be a very meaningful time of study, conversation and reflection.”

A native of Texas, West has a masters of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry from Brite Divinity School. After 15 years in parish ministry in Texas, he moved to North Carolina in 1982 and started Southern Reconciliation Ministries, an ecumenical, non-profit organization designed to address and respond to human need. He served as its executive director until the summer of 1989.

West and his wife Patti moved to Statesville, where in 1990 they both began working at Fifth Street Shelter Ministries -- Gary as co-executive director and Patti as director of women’s and children’s services. In 2001, he also took on the responsibilities of pastor of Grace Baptist Church. He is now retired from Fifth Street and Grace Baptist and is a teacher in the Religion Department at Mitchell Community College, still spending much of his day reading and studying on topics of importance for the church and community. Most recently, he has served as the chairperson for the Statesville Human Relations Commission.

Grace Baptist Church started the Davis Lectures series to offer the community a concentrated study of scripture that includes current topics, serious inquiry and honest dialogue. Dr. Richard T. Davis, a retired minister and chaplain from Durham, led the first series. In honor of his efforts and commitment to the endeavor, the congregation named the series for him and his wife -- the Richard and Barbara Davis Lectures Series.

About Grace Baptist Church

Grace Baptist, located at 719 Club Drive, organized in 1970 as a unique expression of church within the Southern Baptist Convention. The church withdrew from the Southern Baptist Convention in 1983 and is now aligned with the Alliance of Baptists and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. For more information, email gracestatesville@gmail.com or go to www.gracestatesville.org.

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