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Roger W. Heyns Lecture


Established at Memorial Church in 1994, the Roger W. Heyns Lecture in Religion and Society, is an annual event that features a major speaker focusing on problems and challenges of religion and community. Heyns, who was a resident of Atherton, was a member of the Memorial Church congregation from 1977 until his death in 1995.

Heyns served as chancellor at the University of California at Berkeley from 1965 to 1971. The lectureship honors Heyns on his retirement after 16 years as a board member of the James Irvine Foundation.

2020 Roger W. Heyns Lecture in Religion and Society featuring Austin Channing Brown

Monday, February 24, 2020 at 7:00 pm

Stanford Memorial Church

Austin Channing Brown began her journey as a racial reconciler in college with an experience called Sankofa–a three-day bus trip exploring black history sites throughout the South. On this pilgrimage that she came face-to-face with her history, shared the experience with others, and for the first time in her life watched friends become transformed by learning about African American history and racism. 

Austin earned a master’s degree in social justice from Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan. Building on her Sankofa experience and the foundation of her graduate work, she has directed a short-term missions site on the west side of Chicago, creating interactive opportunities for youth to engage issues of poverty, injustice. She also served on staff with Willow Creek Community Church, developing strategies and programming around multiculturalism. Currently, she serves as resident director and multicultural liaison for Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Austin travels the country throughout the year sharing her message at colleges, universities, conferences, and churches. She has been featured at the Justice Conference, Why Christian? Conference, Christians for Biblical Equality International Conference, the University of Northwestern, the CCDA National Conference, the Salvation Army ONE Conference and Focus on the Family: Focus Leadership Institute, to name just a few.

Her first book I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made For Whiteness (Convergent, 2018), released to critical acclaim in the spring 2018.

Past Heyns Lectures

  • January 23, 2019

    Three Faiths, Four Strangers and a Daring Escape

    Mohammed AL Samawi, author of The Fox Hunt; Megan Hallahan, Executive Director of the African Middle Eastern Leadership Project (AMEL); and Justin Hefter, founder and CEO of Bandura Games

  • February 1, 2018

    Religious and Ethical Dimensions of Artificial Intelligence

    The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi, Director of the Ethics Initiative at the MIT Media Lab; President CEO of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT

    View lecture video

  • April 20, 2017

    Toleration, Pluralism and Coexistence: The Ambivalent Legacies of the Reformation

    Professor Alexandra Walsham, Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge

  • April 16, 2016

    Spirituality and the Nones

    Linda Woodhead, Professor of Sociology of Religion, Lancaster University, UK) and Casper ter Kuile, Master of Public Policy and Divinity candidate, Harvard University 

    View lecture video

  • January 15, 2015

    The Contribution of Christian Values to the Common Good

    Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising

    View lecture video

  • October 17, 2013

    The Adventure of Civility

    Krista Tippett, Broadcaster and author

    View lecture video

  • May 1, 2012

    Looking for Grace

    Anna Deavere-Smith, Actress and playwright

    View Stanford Report article

  • June 1, 2011

    Beauty & Power, Truth & Good: 21st Century Quest

    The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

    View lecture video

  • February 22, 2010

    Religion and Politics in the Obama Era

    Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners Magazine

    View lecture video

  • January 27, 2009

    Acts of Faith: Interfaith Leadership in a Time of Religious Crisis

    Dr. Eboo Patel, Interfaith Youth Core

    View lecture video

  • April 18, 2008

    Jesus and Judaism: The Connection Matters

    Prof. Amy-Jill Levine, Vanderbilt Divinity School

  • April 25, 2007

    Misquoting Jesus: Scribes Who Altered Scripture and Readers Who May Never Know

    Prof. Bart D. Ehrman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    View Stanford Report article

  • November 4, 2005

    The Heart of Nonviolence

    His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet

    View lecture video – scroll to the bottom of the web page to view video

    Read lecture transcript

  • October 13, 2004

    Islam: A Short History — and Contemporary Issues

    Karen Armstrong, Leo Baeck College for the Training of Rabbis

    View Stanford Report article

  • May 13, 1998

    America’s New Religious Landscape: Negotiating Identities, Negotiating Differences

    Prof. Diana Eck, Harvard University

  • April 22, 1999

    Revisiting Religious Pluralism

    Prof. Bruce Lawrence, Duke University

  • May 23, 1996

    Satan and All His Angels (How Early Christians Came to Demonize Jews, ‘Pagans’ and Heretics)

    Prof. Elaine Pagels, Princeton University

  • October 15, 1997

    Christian Conviction in a Pluralist Society

    Prof. Maurice Wiles, Christ Church, Oxford