Reverend Burton D. Carley Noted Speakers Series

formerly known as Noted Speaker Program

In 1985, Rev. Carley initiated the Noted Speaker Program. The purpose of the public series is to invite leading authors, scholars, theologians and clergy to address current issues relating to religion, faith and culture.


The Rev. Dr. William "Bill" Sinkford

The Rev. Dr. William "Bill" Sinkford is Senior Minister of the First Unitarian church in Portland, Oregon. Rev. Sinkford is well known for his service as President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (2001-2009). He was the first African American to lead any traditionally white denomination, and was named one of the ten most influential Black religious leaders in the US in both 2005 and 2006. His tenure as UUA President was marked by strong public witness for social justice and support for marginalized communities. Bill—as he prefers to be called—earned his B.A. from Harvard in 1968 and completed his Master of Divinity degree at Starr King School for the Ministry in 1995. He also holds honorary doctorates from Tufts University and Meadville/Lombard Theological School.

John Dominic Crossan

John Dominic Crossan is a well-known Biblical scholar, author and lecturer. He has written twenty-seven books on the historical Jesus, the apostle Paul and earliest Christianity and has work has been translated in thirteen foreign languages. Five of those books have been national religious bestsellers. His latest, published in 2015, is entitled How To Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian: Struggling with Divine Violence from Genesis through Revelation.

Dr. Alan Lightman

Professor of Humanities at MIT; novelist (Einstein’s Dreams and Mr. g); essayist and Ph.D. in theoretical physics. Topic: "The Physicist as Humanist: Science, Art and Religion"

Rev. Meg Barnhouse

Unitarian Universalist minister; author, singer, songwriter and humorist; recorded commentaries for North Carolina Public Radio and the “Weekend Edition of All Things Considered,” National Public Radio. Topic: "Mango Thoughts in a Barbeque Town" on the wonders and challenges of a counter-cultural spiritual life.

Dr. Amy Jill-Levine

E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and the Director of the Carpenter Professor Program in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and the Graduate School of Religion; and author. Topic: "Beyond the Da Vinci Code: A Historian’s Look at Jesus and Women."

Dr. F. Forrester Church

1987 Noted Speaker; minister, All Souls Unitarian Church, NYC; author or editor of over twenty books. Topic: "Bringing God Home."

Dr. Marcus J. Borg

The Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture in the Philosophy Department at Oregon State University; internationally known Jesus scholar and author; and a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar. Topic: "Jesus as Jewish Mystic and Christian Messiah"

Patricia Raybon

Associate Professor of Journalism at University of Colorado in Boulder; author of My First White Friend, writer for National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition.” Topic: "Forgiveness and Race: Creating Racial Health and Personal Power"

Rev. Daniel Aldridge, Jr.

Minister, All Souls Church, Unitarian, Washington, D.C. Topic: "Race and Unitarian Universalism: Which Way Forward?"

Bishop John Shelby Spong, D.D.

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, author and Biblical scholar. Topic: "Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes"

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese

Eleanore Raoul Professor of the Humanities and former Director of Women’s Studies at Emory University, Atlanta, GA. Topic: "Women, Feminism and the Moral Work of Society"

Dr. James A. Sanders

President of the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center for Preservation and Research; Professor of Intertestamental and Biblical Studies, School of Theology at Claremont, CA; Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate School.

Dr. Martin Marty

Church historian, author and professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Topic: "The Whencewardness and Witherwardness of Unitarian Universalism: Comment on its Place in American Culture." Topic: "Update on the Dead Sea Scrolls"

Dr. John B. Wolf

Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, OK. Topic: "Competing Views of History: Paganism and Biblical Theology in Modern Feminist Theology"

Frances Moore Lappe

Activist and author of Diet for a Small Planet. Topic: "Rediscovering America’s Values"

Sherry Kafka Wagner

Design consultant, lecturer and writer. Topic: "The Creativity of Ordinary Life"

Keith Critchlow

British architect, author and scholar of international reputation. Topic: "The Sacred in Nature or the Nature of the Sacred and the Creation of Sacred Space"

Dr. F. Forrester Church

Author and minister of All Souls Unitarian Church, NYC. Topic: "Entertaining Angels: An Introduction to Heaven for Atheists and True Believers"

Dr. Frank Schulman

Minister of Emerson Unitarian Church, Houston, TX. Topic: "Emerson’s Most Important Idea"

Dr. Harvey Cox

Author and Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. Topic: "The Future of Liberal Religion"