The Willard is an annual event that engages our faith tradition with relevant issues including justice, human dignity, and inclusion. It is sponsored by The Willard Endowment of First Presbyterian Church, a fund that was established in memory of Charles R. Willard, Jr.

Announcing the 2025 Willard Lecturer: Kate Bowler

A four-time New York Times bestselling author, award-winning podcast host, and professor at Duke University, Kate Bowler, Ph.D., studies the cultural stories we tell ourselves about success, suffering, and whether (or not) we’re capable of change. She wrote the first and only history of the American prosperity gospel—the belief that God wants to give you health, wealth, and happiness—before being unexpectedly diagnosed with stage IV cancer at age 35. While she was in treatment and not expected to survive, she wrote two New York Times bestselling memoirs, “Everything Happens for a Reason (and Other Lies I’ve Loved)” and “No Cure For Being Human (and Other Truths I Need to Hear)”. After years of being told she was incurable, she was declared cancer-free. But she was forever changed by what she discovered: life is so beautiful and life is so hard. For everyone.

Kate lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her family and continues to teach do-gooders at Duke Divinity School.

2024 Willard Lecturer: Brian McLaren

“Wisdom and Courage for a World Falling Apart”

The PowerPoint presentation from the lecture is available here

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