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(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)- The Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes Jr., described as one of the finest preachers in the English-speaking world, will be featured speaker at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Moravian College. Moravian's observance of the national holiday in honor of the great civil rights leader begins at 8:00 p.m., Thursday, January 17, in Johnston Hall on the Moravian campus. After the program, which also includes readings and inspirational music, the evening will end with a candlelight vigil at the Peace Pole on campus (Locust and Monocacy streets) at approximately 10:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend and admission is free. For more information, call 610-625-7880.
The MLK Voices of Inspiration choir, under the direction of Mark Andrew Miller, will perform two works for the program: "Gabi Gabi," a South African song of justice, and "God Is Able," written by Miller to a text by King. Trish Glazebrook, visiting assistant professor of philosophy, will accompany "Gabi Gabi" on her South African drum. Miller is music director for Moravian's branch of Church Without Walls and Drew [Univ.]Theological School in New Jersey.
Forbes is senior minister of New York's Riverside Church, an interdenominational, interracial, international house of worship built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1927. It serves more than 2,400 members representing 40 denominations with its worship services and outreach missions. An ordained Baptist minister and a distinguished pastor, Forbes has served on the faculty of Union Theological Seminary, where he has been the Brown and Sockman Associate Professor of Preaching (1976-85), the first Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching (1985-89) and the first Harry Emerson Fosdick Adjunct Professor of Preaching in 1989, when he accepted the pastorate at Riverside. He also teaches at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York.
Praised for his inspirational preaching, Forbes was designated one of America's greatest black preachers by Ebony magazine in 1984 and 1993. In 1995, he was named in a well-known survey by Baylor University in Texas as one of the 12 "remarkable and most effective preachers in the English-speaking world" -- an honor confirmed by Newsweek magazine in its March 4, 1996 issue.
Forbes is a well-known preacher and lecturer in the United States and abroad. In 1986, he gave the Lyman Beecher Lecture at Yale University; his address is included in The Holy Spirit and Preaching (Abingdon Press, 1989). In 1995, his "Healing the Spirit of America" was edited from his Davison Lecture at Warren Wilson College. In 1998, he was the inaugural Luce Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School, where he explored the theme of urban ministry. Also in 1998, in addition to participating in the Department of Justice Round Table on Youth Violence at the White House, he delivered the keynote address at President Clinton's Initiative on Race meeting in New Orleans.
Since 1992, Dr. Forbes has been co-chair of A Partnership of Faith, an interfaith organization of clergy among New York's Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim communities. He is a consultant to the Congress of National Black Churches and past president of the Martin Luther King Fellows. His sermons are aired weekly on WLTW 106.7 FM in New York.
Born in 1935 in Burgaw, N.C., Dr. Forbes earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, N.Y.; a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary; and a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He also holds a certificate in clinical pastoral education from the Medical College of Virginia.