The 2024 Gladden Lecture
Featuring The Rev. Dr. Yvonne V. Delk
"Truth Telling: A Mission for the Church and Country in an Era of Afrophobia, Critical Race Theory, and Christian Nationalism"
Sunday, June 23 at 4 p.m.

For over 60 years, Rev. Delk has been a strong ally in the fight for human and civil rights for people of color, children, and the poor. In 1974, Rev. Delk became the first African American woman to be ordained as clergy in the UCC. She is the editor of the book Afro-Christian Convention: The Fifth Stream of the United Church of Christ. The Rev. Delk will also preach at both the 9 and 11 a.m. worship services on Sunday, June 23; her sermon title is “There Is A River.” The 2024 Gladden Lecture is being co-sponsored by the Washington Gladden Social Justice Park, the First Congregational Church Education Endowment Fund, the Social Concerns Endowment Fund, and the generosity of a private donor. A reception following the lecture will be held in the Social Justice Park.

Watch the Lecture Here

Lecture Materials

Dr. Washington Gladden was the distinguished pastor of The First Congregational Church of Columbus from 1882 to 1914. During that complex time in post-Civil War history, Dr. Gladden was nationally known for his Social Gospel views. His constant concern was the application of what he felt to be the self-evident Judeo-Christian principles of compassion, brotherhood/sisterhood, peace and justice issues, social problems of his time. He was engaged in a lifelong pursuit of religious truth, which could be directly applied to human needs.

During his days in Columbus, he was elected to the Columbus City Council where he served for two years (1900-1902) working vigorously for the betterment of community “within the city.” Dr. Gladden thought of himself as first a pastor and then a social prophet and activist.

Even today, the legacy of the Gladden Community House, the libraries throughout the Columbus area, the academic faculty chair in Applied Christianity at the Methodist School of Theology in Delaware, The Washington Gladden Social Justice Park, and the Gladden Lecture tradition all remind us of the extraordinary influence he still casts upon contemporary society. We honor him through this lecture series and will continue to extol his influence in subsequent Gladden Lecture programs.

The Gladden Lecture Series invites dynamic speakers to share thought-provoking sermons and lectures on a topic of social justice or community development. Gladden speakers in the past include The Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund, the author of Blessed Are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Family and Church and The Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, president & CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and CDF Action Council. The 2024 Gladden Lecture is being co-sponsored by the Washington Gladden Social Justice Park and through generous individual donors. 

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