New Yorker’s Emma Green to headline Bridgewater symposium on ‘Brethren and the Polarizing Pandemic’

Emma Green, a staff writer at The New Yorker where she covers cultural conflicts in academia, will headline the symposium on “Brethren and the Polarizing Pandemic: What Next?” at Bridgewater (Va.) College on March 10-11. The sponsor of the event is the Forum for Brethren Studies. The event is open to the public.

Prior to working for The New Yorker, Green was a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covered religion and politics and led a series called The Atlantic Interview. Her work has been featured in outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and NPR, among other media outlets, and her reporting was regularly featured on “The Experiment,” a podcast collaboration between The Atlantic and WNYC.

In 2020, she was the laureate of the George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Excellence in Journalism, Arts, and letters, and in 2021, she won awards from the Religion News Association in magazine journalism and feature writing. Her work has been anthologized in several books, including The American Crisis and The God Beat. She has spoken at Princeton, the University of Chicago, Notre Dame, and other universities across the country. She lives in New York City.

Emma Green

The symposium will contemplate the Church of the Brethren as it emerges from the global pandemic, assessing pre-COVID trends and determining their likely post-COVID trajectory. Topics include the likelihood of further division, social and economic inequality, and the influence of external authority, as illustrated by the 1919 and 2021 pandemics.

Green will begin the symposium on Thursday evening, March 10, with an endowed lecture in Cole Hall. She also will open the symposium on Friday morning, March 11, with a question-and-answer session.

Additional presenters are Robert Johansen (Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies, Notre Dame University), Stephen Longenecker (Professor of History Emeritus, Bridgewater College), and Samuel Funkhouser (Director, Brethren Mennonite Heritage Center). Bethany Seminary president Jeffrey Carter and Shenandoah District executive John Jantzi will present current perspectives from their constituencies. Carl Bowman, (Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia) will chair a panel of Brethren leaders (Donita Keister, Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey, and Larry Dentler) offering personal reflections on the meaning of Brethren membership.

The Thursday evening lecture is free; the Friday session in the President’s Suite in Nininger Hall has a registration fee of $20, mostly to cover lunch.

Advance registration is greatly appreciated, but walk-ups are welcome. For information, to register, and to receive parking information, contact Carol Scheppard, cscheppa@bridgewater.edu.

– Carol Scheppard, professor of the college in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Bridgewater College, contributed information for this report.


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