This year’s Summit will feature the first woman preacher as a theme speaker. Barbara Brown Taylor is an Episcopal priest and the author of several award-winning books, her most recent being Learning to Walk in the Dark.
Brady Bryce, director of Summit, said Taylor is an outstanding preacher and various people suggested her as a speaker.
“Her name has come up every year, repeatedly, from a wide group of people that submit ideas to us about who to speak,” Bryce said.
Bryce said they’ve been sending Taylor invitations to speak for the longest out of any of the speakers.
“I’ve been here for eight years and we’ve been asking if she had the ability to come that entire time,” Bryce said. “This is the first time she’s been able to do it.”
Bryce said he anticipates Taylor’s preaching to change people’s perspectives of woman preachers.
“Other people may have been like me where they never thought of having a woman preacher, but now they’ll see one with the kind of talent and years behind the pulpit that she’s had,” Bryce said.
Bryce said, while some people may have trouble adjusting to a woman preacher, he hopes they can find a way to look past that.
“I hope that we as Christians have matured to the point where we realize that we see things differently and we practice things differently and that’s OK,” Bryce said. “Can we remain in dialogue and fellowship and together navigate a way forward together?”
Jack Hodge, junior political science major from Dallas, said gender shouldn’t be a deciding factor in whether someone can speak at Summit.
“If she knows what she’s talking about, it doesn’t matter to me if it is a boy or a girl speaking,” he said. “It’s not a big deal.”
Toni Allen, senior elementary education major from Waco, said she is excited there will be a female point of view among Summit speakers.
“It’s moving ACU in a really good and positive direction that includes women in a nice, healthy way,” Allen said.
Bryce said he can’t wait to see how Summit is enriched by Taylor’s preaching.
“I’m hopeful that people will see how God has gifted all of his children and allow the body of Christ to let people use their gifts to build up and nurture the body of Christ, no matter what that ends up looking like,” he said.