When the late Dr. Carlton Mitchell was chair of the Department of Religion at Wake Forest University he placed a high value on working with faith communities to enhance interfaith understanding.
Through the leadership of Nan Griswold, one of Mitchell’s students in the 1960s, Dr. Mitchell’s interests are carried on today through the Carlton Mitchell Interfaith Series, established by Interfaith Winston-Salem in 2013 to honor Dr. Mitchell. The Series offers activities that challenge the head and touch the heart, including lectures, concerts, discussions and other events that build the kind of community that Dr. Mitchell envisioned.
The Mitchell Series this fall presents a lecture by Dr. Charles Kimball, Presidential Professor and Director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. The lecture will be delivered at 7 p.m. Thursday, September 22 in Brendle Recital Hall on the campus of Wake Forest University and is open to the public.
Current sponsors for the 2016 lecture include Interfaith Winston-Salem, Wake Forest University Department for the Study of Religions, Knollwood Baptist Church, The Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem, and members of the Mitchell family.
Dr. Kimball is a frequent lecturer in universities and church-related settings as well as an expert analyst on the Middle East, Islam, Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations, and the intersection of religion and politics in the U.S. Between 1996 and 2008, Dr. Kimball served as Chair of the Department of Religion and the Divinity School at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.
Dr. Kimball’s lecture will be the third program in the Mitchell Series. The series was inaugurated in April 2014 with community interfaith concerts by the Afro-Semitic Jazz Ensemble. In the fall of 2014, the series featured the Rev. Dr. John Philip Newell, a poet, author, minister and scholar internationally acclaimed for his work in Celtic spirituality, as part of a lecture weekend at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem.
Dr. Mitchell, who died in January 2013, was Professor Emeritus at Wake Forest University, specializing in American church history, religious education and psychology of religion. He taught in (and also chaired) the Department of Religion at Wake Forest for 30 years (1961-91). He received degrees from Campbell University, Wake Forest University, Yale University, Union Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from New York University. During his career, he served as associate, interim and pastor of more than 40 churches in North Carolina, Missouri and New Jersey, retiring as pastor of Westview Baptist Church in 2008.
Dr. Mitchell also served an additional 200 churches in capacities ranging from consultant, lecturer, supply minister, study course teacher, seminar leader, and spiritual development director. A retired commander in the Navy Chaplain Corps, he served as Chaplain for the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets and for the Marines in Korea.