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The 2021 Russell Lecture on Spiritual Life

Rev. Taylor looks at the camera

Rev. Adam Russell Taylor

The Work Ahead: Building a Just, Beloved Community

This year, we will host Reverend Adam Russell Taylor, President of Sojourners, a non-profit organization committed to “faith in action for social justice.”

Rev. Taylor's address is entitled, "The Work Ahead: Building a Just, Beloved Community." The dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism have created an inflection moment in which we must rigorously ask what kind of nation we want to be and to rededicate ourselves to the work of building a radically more just and inclusive nation. In the midst of our polarized nation, the moral vision of the Beloved Community is both timely and transformational.  In this address, Rev. Taylor will outline ways to build a more just Beloved Community, with a particular emphasis on the spiritual underpinnings of justice work.

Taylor previously led the Faith Initiative at the World Bank Group and served as the vice president in charge of Advocacy at World Vision U.S. and the senior political director at Sojourners. He has also served as the executive director of Global Justice, an organization that educates and mobilizes students around global human rights and economic justice. He was selected for the 2009/2010 class of White House Fellows and served in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs and Public Engagement. Taylor is a graduate of Emory University, the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology. Taylor also serves on the Global Advisory Board of Tearfund UK and is a member of the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute Civil Society Fellowship. Taylor is ordained in the American Baptist Church and the Progressive National Baptist Convention and serves in ministry at the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA.

The event will take place virtually on April 7, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. ET. The gathering will include a keynote address by Rev. Taylor and a moderated Q&A. Please reach out to University Chaplaincy program manager Nora Bond with questions and accessibility needs. Live closed captioning will be available. You can register through the link below.

James A. Russell Lectureship on Spiritual Life

The Russell Lectureship is the oldest lectureship at Tufts University, established by James Russell of West Cambridge (now Arlington) in 1867. In accordance with the provisions of the donor’s will, each year the university invites a distinguished lecturer to speak on a topic relating to spiritual life. (Source: Miller, Russell E. Light on the Hill: A History of Tufts College 1852-1952. Boston: Beacon Press, 1966.)


Past Russell Lectureship Speakers

2021 - Reverend Adam Russell Taylor, "The Work Ahead: Building a Just, Beloved Community"

2020 - Lecture not held, due to the coronavirus pandemic

2019 Eboo Patel "Division or Unity: Religious Diversity and the American Promise"

2018 The Reverend Dr. Thandeka "Why Love Beyond Belief Today?"

2017 150th Anniversary – The Reverend Osagyefo Sekou “The Role of the Prophet in a Time of Monsters”

2016  Professor Diana Eck “The Crisis of American Religious Diversity: Excluding or Engaging Difference”

2015  The Reverend Janet Cooper Nelson G72 “Questions without Answers: Education, Worth, and Empathy”

2014 James Carroll “Christianity and Anti-Semitism”

2013 Sister Simone Campbell

2012 Sherman Teichmann, Tufts Institute for Global Leadership

2011 The Reverend Peter Morales, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association

2010 Michael Flaherty A90

2009 Professor Elizabeth Prodoromou

2008 The Reverend James W. Skehan

2007 Professor Max L. Stackhouse, “Faith and Globalization”

2006 The Reverend Dr. Gloria White-Hammond, “A Career in Medicine vs. a Ministry of Healing”

2005 Dr. Ingrid Mattson

2004 The Reverend J. Bryan Hehir, “War, Peace and Terror: Defining the Relationship”

2003 The Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church, Harvard University (Rededication Ceremony of Goddard Chapel after Renovation)

2002 Archbishop Desmond Tutu

1989-2001 [No record]

1988 Professor George Ursul, Emerson College

1985-1987 [No record]

1984 Professor Brian Smith

1983 Dr. Lamin Sanneh

1982 Dr. Spencer Lavan

1981 [No record]

1980 Professor George Goethals

1979 Dr. George Rupp

1978 The Reverend Dr. Victor Carpenter

1977 The Reverend Dr. Constance Parvey

1976 Dr. J. Robert Nelson

1975 Professor William Jones

1974 [No record]

1973 [Professor Mary Daly scheduled but did not speak]

1972 Roger Hazelton

1971 The Reverend Frederick Buschner

1970 The Rev. Theodore Lockhart

1969 The Rev. Dr. Harvey Cox

1968 100th Anniversary: The Rev. Ralph Norman Helverson, “Theseus and the Minotaur”

1967 Dr. Joseph N. Barth

1966 Dr. C. Conrad Wright, “Piety, Morality, and the Commonwealth”

1965 Dr. Rhys Williams, “The Future of Man”

1964 Dr. Bradford Eugene Gale, “The Religion of Time and the Religion of Eternity”

1963 Dr. Edwon Prince Booth

1962 Dr. Brainard F. Gibbons, “Christian Principles and Business Practices”

1961 Dr. Samuel Howard Miller, “Character and the Sacraments of the Self”

1960 Dr. Albert J. Penner, “Christian Faith and Ethical Decision”

1959 The Right Rev. Anson Phelps Stokes, Jr., “The People of God”

1958 Dr. Philip Randall Giles, “The Christian Faith, the Good Man, the World Citizen”

1957 Dr. Roy Messer Pearson, “The Prophetic Voice of the Church”

1956 Dr. Dana McLean Greeley, “Religion Makes the Difference”

1955 Dr. George A. Buttrick, “Beyond Idolatry”

1954 Dr. Henry J. Cadbury, “The Application of Religion to Public Affairs”

1953 James Luther Adams, “Affirmative Religion the Vocation of Citizenship”

1952 Parker McCollester

1951 Herbert Gezork, “The Fate of Religion Under Totalitarianism”

1950 Charles Whitney Gilkey, “Contemporary Religious Trends Among American Students”

1949 Robert H. Pfeiffer, “Is the Gospel Obsolete?”

1948 Harold A. Bosley, “The Nature of Religious Liberalism”

1947 Eugene G. Bewkes, “Reflections on Religion and Ethics”

1946 Clarence Russell Skinner, “Superstition, Reason and Faith”

1945 Bruce W. Brotherston

1944 Julius S. Bixler

1943 William Wallace Rose, “Religion and the Religious”

1942 Frederick M. Eliot

1941 Willard L. Sperry, “The Dilemma of Christianity”

1940 Robert Cummins, “Religious Implications of the Democratic Process”

1939 Rufus Jones

1938 Lee S. McCollester, “Religion, Learning and Men of the Free Spirit”

1937 John Haynes Holmes, “The New Warfare of Science and Religion”

1936 Laurence H. Seelye

1935 Charles E. Park, “Faith with the Mind’s Permission”

1934 Paul D. Moody

1933 Louis C. Cornish

1932 William E. Hocking, “Religion and Philosophy in Occident and Orient”

1931 J.A.C. Fagginger Auer, “A Religion for Today”

1930 Russell Henry Stafford, “The Indispensable Gospel”

1929 F. O. Hall

1928 Harold E.B. Speight, “Gains for Religion in Modern Thought”

1927 J. Edgar Park, “Creation in Literature and Life”

1926 Samuel A. Eliot

1925 Gaius Glann Atkins

1924 Charles R. Brown

1923 Kenyon L. Butterfield

1922 Nehemiah Boynton, “The Importance of Christian Faith and Belief”

1921 S. M. Crothers

1920 J. F. Newton

1919 F. W. Perkins

1918 [No lecture due to wartime conditions]

1917 Francis G. Peabody, “Religion After the War”

1916 Marion D. Shutter, “A Working Theory of Life”

1915 I. M. Atwood

1914 C. R. Henderson

1913 W.H.P. Faunce, “The Sufficiency of the Gospel to Meet the Reasonable Needs of Men Both in Time and Eternity”

1912 John van Schaick

1911 F. O. Hall

1910 C. A. Barney

1909 H. I. Cushman

1908 L. M. Powers

1907 F. W. Perkins

1906 A. W. Grose

1905 F. W. Hamilton

1904 Herbert Ernest Cushman, “What Is Christianity?”

1903 John Vannevar

1902 G. W. Penniman

1901 Vincent H. Tomlinson

1900 D. M. Dodge

1899 H. W. Rugg

1898 W. H. Ryder

1897 W. S. Perkins

1896 J. C. Snow

1895 C. E. Nash

1894 T. E. Busfield

1893 G. L. Demarest

1892 E. E. Hale

1891 J. C. Adams

1890 C. H. Eaton

1889 A. P. Putnam

1888 I. C. Knowlton

1887 C. F. Lee

1886 A. A. Miner

1885 Edward J. Young, “The Sufficiency of Christianity”

1884 W. H. Ryder

1883 A. P. Peabody

1882 Henry Blanchard

1881 J. Smith Dodge

1880 [No record]

1879 [No record]

1878 C. H. Leonard

1877 W. R. Shipman

1876 W. E. Gibbs

1875 A. St. John Chambre

1874 I. M. Atwood

1873 E. C. Bolles

1872 T. J. Sawyer

1871 Thomas Baldwin Thayer, “Christianity Sufficient for the Present and the Future”

1870 Elbridge Gerry Brooks

1869 Ebenezer Fisher

1868 First Lecture: The Reverend Massena Goodrich