In: 2018 Durham NC 15 Dec 2017

Fear is both a theological theme and an existential reality. “The fear of God” is at the heart of biblical wisdom (e.g., Prov. 1:1-7), including a sense of wonder, reverence, and respect that humankind may offer to God in response to divine sovereignty and glory. At the same time, many different kinds of fear run rampant in our world, including fears related to the rise of nationalism and political corruption, violence and the threat of violence, changes in our religious landscapes, religious extremism, refugees, persons of different ethnic identities, socio-economic difficulties, climate crises, and natural disasters. How do we recognize, identify, and address fear as teachers and preachers of homiletics who experience and encounter fear of different kinds? What are the conversations we need to develop and the topics we need to debate? How do we facilitate theological and practical engagement with the fears that we experience not only as individuals but from our students and in our churches, neighborhoods, nations, and world? When is it wise to recall the biblical promise, “Do not fear…” in our preaching? How do we describe and develop homiletical spaces in which fear needs to be expressed? Please join our deliberations and conversations about fearing God in a fear-filled world as we meet at the Duke University Divinity School on 3-8 August, 2018.

Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm

President of Societas Homiletica

Welcome to Durham!


The registration-process is two-step.

If you plan to stay at one of the conference hotels, make sure you book your hotel first, before you register for the conference. During conference registration you will need to provide the name of your hotel. This is important because of transportation logistics.

If you do NOT plan to stay at one of the conference hotels, you may proceed to register for the conference.

1. Go to the Hotel Tab to select hotel and book a room
2. Register for the conference

Early bird registration fees apply through April 30. All fees increase $50 on May 1.

- Members and spouses/partners: $400 ()
- Associate members: $200
- Non-members: $500
- Doctoral students ($250)

For members: make sure you have registered as a member and paid your membership fees through the membership registration.

Cancellation fees:
$100 Fee if registrant cancels order by April 30
$150 Fee if registrant cancels order from May 1 through July 20
No Cancellation After July 20

If you encounter any problems, please contact Alexander Deeg (international secretary) or Theo Pleizier (webmanager).
Conference Hotels: Hilton Garden Inn and Hilton Durham near Duke

Shuttle service will be provided each day from these two hotels to/from Duke Divinity School.

The conference rate is available from August 2-9 in case participants want to come a day early and/or stay a day late.

Hilton Garden Inn
Located in the bustling 9th Street area of Durham within easy walking distance to many restaurants, pubs, and shops. Free public bus transportation to Brightleaf Square and downtown Durham is easily accessible. The hotel also offers a free shuttle to nearby destinations. For booking, visit the special website. Guests can also call 877-782-9444. Reference the Group Code: SHC

Hilton Durham near Duke
Located a short drive to the 9th Street area, Brightleaf Square, and downtown Durham. Uber and Lyft offer very good service in Durham. The hotel also offers a free shuttle to nearby destinations. For booking, visit the special website. Guests can also call 1-800-HILTONS (445-8667). Reference the Group Code: SHC.

Call for Papers (May 31st)
Download the PDF document with the Call for papers.

During the conference there are various ways to interact academically. You are most welcome to submit contributions and you may choose between a paper, a contribution to a panel or a poster on research in progress.

Paper sessions consist of two or more 20 minute paper presentations each followed by 20 minutes of discussion. You are welcome to submit an abstract for a paper (300 words) before May 31st. Abstracts may be sent to the Secretary, Alexander Deeg ( Within 3 weeks you will be notified as to whether your proposal has been accepted. First consideration is given to papers that clearly connect with the theme of the conference.

During the conference, three 90-minute panels will take place. Each panel consists of 3-4 short (15 minute) papers with the remainder of the time left for discussion. You are invited to submit a brief abstract by May 31st that addresses one of the panel themes listed below. Papers for the panels must be completed and shared among the members of the panel in advance of the conference. A 300-word abstract of possible contributions should be sent to the Secretary, Alexander Deeg ( with an indication for which panel the paper is intended. In cooperation with the panel coordinators, the Secretary will distribute the papers across the panel groups. Within 4 weeks, you will receive notice of whether your paper has been accepted for a panel presentation, after which the panel coordinator will contact you to discuss details related to the panel presentations and discussions.

(1) Practical-Theology panel: Integrating Preaching, Care and Worship. Coordinator Theo Pleizier (
(2) Preaching and Emotions. Coordinator Alfred Stephen (
(3) Rhetoric and Images: Moving through Fear. Coordinator David Plüss (

The poster sessions give scholars the chance to present their research. These may be of special interest to young scholars, including (but not limited to) doctoral students. Interested researchers are invited to submit an abstract (no more than 300 words) of their poster by May 31st (no more than 300 words). If selected, a digital version of the poster can be sent to the Secretary who will cooperate with the local committee in printing it for the conference. During the conference, time will be allotted to one (or two) poster sessions.

Deadline for all 300-words submissions: May 31st
Please send your abstract to the Secretary, Alexander Deeg (

(Unless otherwise noted, all events will take place at Duke University Divinity School. All meals will be provided EXCEPT morning breakfasts at your hotel and Monday dinner. A more detailed program will be provided upon arrival.)

Friday, 3 August
16:00 Registration
18:00 Dinner
19:30 Words of Welcome, Opening Worship (Preacher: The Rev. Dr. Richard Lischer)

Saturday, 4 August
9:30 Morning Meditation (Marlene Ringaard Lorensen and Anne Gidion)
10:00 Presidential Address: The Rev. Dr. Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm
11:30 Reflection Groups (small group gatherings/discussions)
12:30 Lunch on campus
13:30 Plenary: International Panel of Homileticians
15:15 Session I: Paper Presentations
17:00 Session II: Paper Presentations
18:30 Dinner (North Carolina barbeque)
20:00 Jazz Vespers

Sunday, 5 August
10:00/10:15 Buses depart for local worship services
12:30 Lunch on campus
14:00 Keynote Address: Dr. Anathea Portier-Young (Biblical Perspectives on Preaching the Fear of God)
16:00 Session III: Paper Presentations and Workshops
17:30 Session IV Paper Presentations and Ph.D. Student Poster Presentations
18:45 Catered Dinner
20:15 Reflection Groups

Monday, 6 August
9:00 Worship Service (Preacher: The Rev. Dr. Wanda Deifelt)
10:00 Keynote Address: Dr. Donyelle McCray (Pauli Murray and Black Preaching)
11:30 Lunch on campus
13:30 Excursions (see website for listing)
18:00 Dinner on your own; free evening

Tuesday, 7 August
9:00 Worship Service (Preacher: The Rev. Dr. Frank Thomas)
10:30 Session V Paper Presentations and Ph.D. Student Poster Presentations
12:00 Lunch on campus
13:30 Keynote Address: Dr. Traugott Roser (The Emotion, Psychology, and Language of Fear)
15:30 Reflection Groups
16:30 Session VI: Paper Presentations and Workshops
18:30 Banquet and Entertainment at The Rickhouse, Downtown Durham

Wednesday, 8 August
9:00 Business Meeting
10:00 Closing Worship Service (Preacher: The Rev. Dr. Alexander Deeg)
11:00 Boxed lunches provided for your departure

Download the programm in PDF.

A note on the Banquet
During the evening banquet on Tuesday, we welcome expressions of 'Cultural Sharing' from those who attend the conference. Please bring something that is characteristic of the region or country you come from: it could be a brief text, dance, food, or music. Any of these would provide wonderful opportunities to share something about your homeland. Please note: each presentation can be no longer than 3 minutes. At registration, your name will be collected and a program will be arranged during the conference that includes your 3-minute presentation. During the meeting we will gather names of those individuals and groups interested in presenting cultural sharing.
Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is a 21-minute drive to the Hilton Garden Inn and a 20-minute drive to the Hilton near Duke University. You can use Uber/Lyft or taxi services available outside of baggage claim. If you want to prearrange ground transportation to the hotel, we recommend Charlene's Safe Rides (919.744.4444).
The registration process offers a selection of excursions. You can select your choice during registration.

Duke University
Duke Chapel and Duke Gardens are two of the most visited attractions in Durham. Following a guided tour of the Chapel, enjoy the 55 acres of specialized gardens in the heart of the University. Cool off afterwards with a North Carolina craft beer in Duke’s on-campus pub, The Devil’s Kraft House. Or walk the Al Buehler trail in the Duke Forest and enjoy a beverage afterwards at the Bull Durham Bar in the Washington Duke Inn. All of these sites are a short walk from the Divinity School.

Eno River State Park - $24.00
Located just outside Durham, the state park is a popular destination for hiking around the Eno River. Participants can relax by the river and explore the nearly 30 miles of trails in the park.

Greensboro Civil Rights Museum and Historic Downtown - $40.00
The International Civil Rights Center and Museum is an archival center, collecting museum, and teaching facility devoted to the international struggle for civil and human rights. The museum celebrates the nonviolent protests of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins that served as a catalyst in the civil rights movement. The museum is located in the building that formerly housed the Woolworth’s Department Store, where four students from North Carolina A & T started the Greensboro sit-ins at the whites-only lunch counter in1960.

Pauli Murray Walking Tour - $39.00
Lawyer, activist, professor, and priest, Pauli Murray, who grew up in Durham, is now recognized as one of the unsung she-roes of the civil rights and women’s movements in the United States. Walk into Durham’s history of racial segregation in the West End Neighborhood. Aya Shabu and friends share stories about Pauli Murray’s multi-racial ancestry and heritage, the significance of Black Civil War soldiers, the Freedman Schools movement, and long-time local residents to illuminate the life of Pauli Murray and her childhood home. (The plenary lecture on Monday morning will focus on Murray’s contributions as a civil rights leader and preacher.)

Durham NC, United States of America