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Join Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church for an online talk on the prophetic witness of the Black church

On Nov. 3, the Rev. Canon Esau McCaulley, PhD, will deliver the fourth annual Gotto Lecture in New York City

from Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church | Special to Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Canon Esau McCaulley, PhD

LOUISVILLE — This year’s Anita and Antonio Gotto Lecture Series at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City will feature the Rev. Canon Esau McCaulley, PhD, a priest, author and theologian who regularly writes opinion pieces for The New York Times and hosts The Disrupters podcast.

His most recent book, “Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope,” looks at the tradition of African American biblical interpretation and argues that the Bible rightly understood and read from a decidedly Black perspective can speak a word of hope to African Americans in the United States.

McCaulley’s lecture, which is being put on by Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and co-hosted by First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, will occur both in-person at the Fifth Avenue church, 708 Fifth Avenue at West 55th Street in New York City and via livestream.

McCaulley is calling his lecture “Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy: the Prophetic Witness of the Black Church.” McCaulley will examine the development of the current divides about social action in white Christian churches and examine how the Black church charted a different path. His talk is set for 7 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Nov. 3. The event is free, but attendees must register. Register for the livestream here and for in-person tickets here. The doors at the Fifth Avenue entrance will open at 6:15 p.m.

Following McCaulley’s lecture, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church’s senior pastor, the Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston, will hold a question-and-answer session with McCaulley.

McCaulley is renowned for his research and writing on Pauline theology, African American biblical interpretation and for articulating a Christian theology of justice in the public square.

Past speakers in the Gotto Lecture series are:

  • Jonathan Haidt, a moral psychologist, best-selling author and the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
  • David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, best-selling author and commentator. Watch a replay of Brooks’ 2019 lecture here.
  • Emma Green, religion and politics writer for The Atlantic. Green has spent a decade covering religious communities at moments of tension and change. Watch a replay of Green’s 2020 lecture here.

Inaugurated in October 2018, the Gotto Lecture Series is made possible through a contribution from Anita and Antonio Gotto, longtime members of the congregation.

The Gotto Lecture Series builds on the success of Fifth Avenue’s visiting authors program, created by Johnston in 2010. This program has featured such acclaimed writers as James Carroll, Thomas Long, Marilynne Robinson, Barbara Brown Taylor and Christian Wiman.

Anita and Antonio Gotto are both natives of Nashville, Tennessee, where they attended Vanderbilt University. They lived in Houston for 25 years, where they raised their family. Tony Gotto was chair of internal medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. Anita, a former teacher, served on a number of community boards. The Gottos moved to New York in 1997, when Tony became the dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. They joined Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in 1998, where Tony has served as a trustee and Anita on the session.


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