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Barbara Brown Taylor to deliver lecture

Distinguished author, preacher and lecturer Dr. Barbara Brown Taylor will deliver the 4th Annual Connor Society Lecture. The event will take place on Sunday, September 10, beginning at 3:30 p.m. in the Benwood Auditorium of the UTC Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science Building.

Taylor's lecture is free and open to the public.

Ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1983, Taylor has served as rector of both urban and rural parishes. She now holds an endowed chair in religion at Piedmont College in Demorest, GA.

A frequent guest preacher and teacher at churches and universities across the country, she is also adjunct professor of Christian spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary. She was named one of the twelve most effective preachers in the English-speaking world by Baylor University.

Taylor, who is an editor-at-large and columnist for The Christian Century, may be best known as a popular writer on spiritual issues. Her books include Mixed Blessings, The Preaching Life and When God Is Silent.

Her most recent book is Leaving Church, an account of her decision to relinquish her duties as a parish priest and the beginning of her quest to find a new relationship with God. "I may have left the house," she writes, "but I have not left the relationship."

Theologian and author Frederick Buechner, who served as the Connor Society's first lecturer, says of the book, "I cannot overstate how liberating and transforming I have found Leaving Church to be."

Taylor's appearance continues the Connor Society's tradition of presenting outstanding lecturers to honor the life of George Connor, the late Guerry Professor of English at UTC. Past speakers in the Connor Lecture series include Buechner, novelist and teacher Allen Wier and Shakespeare scholar Susan Willis.

The Connor Society will host a reception for Taylor, beginning at 2 p.m. on September 10 in the UTC Faculty Club at Oak and Palmetto Streets. Those who attend will have the opportunity to meet Taylor and to hear a selection from Connor's writings presented by Norma "Butch" Mills and Sam Payne. Coffee and desserts will be served.

The UTC campus bookstore will offer a selection of Brown's books for sale at the reception and in the lobby of the Benwood Auditorium prior to and following her lecture. Copies of Living with the Word, a collection of Connor's writings, will be on sale at the reception and before and after the lecture.

While the lecture is free and open to the public, the Connor Society asks for a $25 donation to the Society for each attendee at the reception. All proceeds are used to fund future lecturers. Since the reception must be limited to 75 participants because of space, reservations will be honored on a first come, first served basis.

Reservations for the reception may be made by writing a check to The Connor Society and mailing it to 732 Cherry Street, Chattanooga 37402. The deadline for reservations is September 5.

August 11, 2006

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