Vidalia rector to present Conrad-Shelby Lecture at BPC

MOUNT VERNON -- Ron Southerland, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation of Vidalia, will present the 17th Conrad-Shelby Lecture at Brewton-Parker College on Tuesday, Nov. 11.

Southerland will present his lecture, "The Narratives of God: The One Who Beckons; the One Who Resists," at 8 p.m. in the Briscoe Center on the Brewton-Parker campus.

Southerland was born in Palatka, Fla., and raised in Macon, where he graduated from Lanier High School. He was awarded a bachelor of science degree in forestry from the University of Georgia in 1965, with a specialty in wildlife management. In years following, he worked as a forest ranger, county extension agent and mining safety engineer.

Southerland entered seminary in 1969 at Saint Luke's School of Theology at the University of the South and was ordained as a deacon in 1972. He served a parish in Signal Mountain, Tenn., and then was ordained as a priest in 1973. Southerland accepted the call to serve as rector of The Church of the Annunciation in Vidalia in 1989.

Southerland is dean of the Central Convocation of the Diocese of Georgia and is vicar of Saint Mary Magdalene Church in Louisville as well as of Saint Thomas Aquinas Church in Baxley. He is devoted to the life of the small congregation, believe the special dynamics there can create a closely knit family with exceptionally strong ties defined by the self-giving love of Jesus.

Southerland and his wife, Linda, have three grown children and three grandchildren. He enjoys anything to do with appreciating nature and has a strong interest in the literature of the South, especially that of William Faulkner.

"We are honored to have Father Southerland continue with the fine tradition of this series that always proves to be interesting and enlightening," said Dr. Ruth Ellen Porter, chair of the humanities division at Brewton-Parker.

The Conrad-Shelby Lecture Series was established in 1983 to honor the late Cader Lex Shelby, administrative dean and Bible professor at Brewton-Parker, and Mary Conrad Shelby, professor of English.

Upon Mary Shelby's death, her daughter and son-in-law, Dr. John and Leta Shelby Wimpey of Atlanta, provided funds to endow a lecture series in memory of the Shelbys. In establishing the lectureship, the benefactors requested that the topic of the annual event be "The Bible as or in Literature."

Since its inception, many have contributed to the fund and made the lecture possible.