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Eastern Michigan University Library
Thomas A. Fleming Collection & Lecture Series
Black Church and literacy
Eastern Michigan University is pleased to announce the Rev. LaVerne Gill as the second speaker in the 2006-2007 Kellogg-Fleming Lecture Series. The subject of this second installment is "Black Religion and Literacy."
The Kellogg Fleming Lecture Series is made possible through a generous grant of the W.W. Kellogg Foundation. It is a year-long program that celebrates the opening of the Thomas A. Fleming Collection at Eastern Michigan University. Consisting of the donated works of nationally known educator and former Eastern Michigan University administrator Dr. Thomas A. Fleming, the collection is a repository of literature on the African American intellectual and cultural tradition with a particular emphasis on education, religion, history, politics and culture. The Fleming family's donation aims to motivate youth to become literate and well informed regarding the circumstance of their lives.
The speaker for this second lecture, Rev. Laverne M. Gill, is the Senior Pastor of Webster United Church of Christ in Dexter, Michigan. Prior to assuming the pastorate there in 1999, Rev. Gill had distinguished herself in several professional arenas. The holder of a B.A. in business and economics from Howard University, a MBA from Rutgers University, and Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary, she has served as a Budget Analyst for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Alan Cranston. An electronic media journalist, she has produced and hosted a range of radio and television programs for local and national networks, and was a member of the National Press Club.
In addition to attending to the ministerial needs of the congregation at Webster United Church of Christ, she has developed several global outreach initiatives since assuming her responsibilities. These include having led five delegations of church members to Ghana, developing microeconomic initiatives in Africa for men and women in a United Nations High Commission on Refugees settlement, instituting a scholarship and resettlement program for African refugees in the United States, developing an Adopt-a Landmine project to promote awareness in Michigan of these devices, creating a ministry to the Lakota nation, and initiating programs to encourage consciousness of the environment.
Rev. Laverne Gill has an extensive record of international travel, and has been a frequent speaker in international venues. In 2004, she delivered a paper, "African Contributions to the Religious Traditions of the World" at a conference sponsored by the World Council of Churches and the Vatican. She is the author of four books, African American Women in Congress: Forming and Transforming History, Daughters of Dignity: African American Women and the Virtues of Black Womanhood, My Mother Prayed for Me, and Vashti's Victory: And Other Biblical Women, Resisting Injustice, and a contributor to several others.
Rev. LaVerne M. Gill's commitment to empowering the marginalized, her dedication to education as an agent of change, and her passion for understanding and illuminating matters of the spirit all coincide with the values present in the life of Dr. Thomas Fleming. "The Black Church: Sacred Learning--Dance, Song and the Bible "promises to be a unique and compelling look at the subject "Black Religion and Literacy."
Providing musical accompaniment for Rev. Gill's presentation will be Cheryl Vanderhoof, Founder and Conductor of the Webster Community Orchestra.