The University will host three accomplished leaders as part of the inaugural Madeline McElveen Distinguished Preaching Series in the spring.
Guest speakers include Rev. Tom Tewell, an ordained pastor for 40 years; Dr. Eric Motley, an executive vice president of The Aspen Institute and Rev. Russell J. Levenson Jr., an Episcopalian rector who gave the homily at former President George H.W. Bush’s memorial.
Madeline McElveen’s children, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Dr. John McElveen and Tweed McElveen-Bogache, began bringing guest preachers to the Royal Poinciana Chapel a few years ago as a celebration of the good news of the gospel and a way of remembering their late mother. The guest preachers will speak during the Royal Poinciana Chapel’s Sunday morning services and then at PBA on Monday mornings, said Royal Poinciana Pastor Dr. Robert Norris.
McElveen, of Greensboro, North Carolina and Litchfield, South Carolina, was a lifelong educator who inspired a love of learning. She taught in eight states and Germany over the course of 40 years.
“She set an extraordinary example for us to follow, with a legacy of unyielding faith, eternal optimism and a passion for education, which will continue as a genuine testimony to all,” McElveen-Hunter said.
The University looks forward to providing a rich tribute to McElveen’s remarkable legacy of leadership, kindness and service, said President William M. B. Fleming Jr. The University honored McElveen-Hunter at its Women of Distinction luncheon in 2018.
“Hosting three of America’s most renowned Christian scholar/practitioners in one semester provides our students and faculty with an extraordinary ‘front row seat’ to listen and learn from elite Gospel preachers,” Fleming said. “PBA is fortunate that Ambassador McElveen-Hunter, in collaboration with Dr. Robert Norris of the Royal Poinciana Chapel, selected our campus for this inaugural series.”
The Center for Biblical Leadership is sponsor of the series.
Tewell has pastored congregations in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and New Providence, New Jersey, as well as the 5,100-member Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas, and the 3,500-member Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City.
Each congregation has experienced significant spiritual and numerical growth and become deeply involved in ministry to the surrounding community. The Memorial Drive Church is a dollar-for-dollar church, meaning it gives one dollar for the needs of the world for every dollar it spends internally. He is the founder of Macedonian Ministry, which supports 300 pastors and congregations by offering them the opportunity to grow their preaching and leadership in a three-year program.
Tewell is a graduated of Muskingum University in Ohio and of Princeton Seminary. He earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew Theological School in New Jersey.
He will speak 11 a.m. Jan. 13 in the DeSantis Family Chapel.
Motley is responsible for institutional advancement and governance at The Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit, nonpartisan forum for values-based leadership and the exchange of ideas. He served as director of the Institute’s commission to reform the vetting process for federal appointments. Previously, he worked as director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Visitors, special assistant to President George W. Bush and deputy associate director of the Office of Presidential Personnel.
In 2017, Motley published the memoir “Madison Park, A Place of Hope,” telling the story of the small community where he grew up in Montgomery, Alabama. The enclave was founded in 1880 by a group of freed slaves.
Motley earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Samford University. As a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, he earned a Master of Letters in international relations. He earned a doctorate as the John Steven Watson Scholar.
He will speak 11 a.m. Feb. 10 in the DeSantis Family Chapel.
Levenson is rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, which is home to more than 9,500 baptized members. He is a board member for the Hope and Healing Center and Institute founded by St. Martin’s in 2012. The center offers mental, emotional and recovery services to more than 600 individuals each week, without cost or obligation. In 2015, Levenson was inducted into the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.
He previously served as rector of the historic Christ Church Parish in Pensacola, Florida, and the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Levenson received his bachelor of arts from Birmingham-Southern College, where he was recognized with the school’s top presidential honor. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Ministry at Beeson Divinity School.
He will speak 11 a.m. March 16 in the DeSantis Family Chapel.
Photo 1: Madeline McElveen's children started the distinguished preaching series as a celebration of the good news of the gospel and a way of remembering their late mother.
Photo 2: Tom Tewell is the first speaker in the Madeline McElveen Distinguished Preaching Series. He is the founder of Macedonian Ministry, which supports 300 pastors and congregations by offering them the opportunity to grow their preaching and leadership in a three-year program.
Photo 3: Dr. Eric Motley is the second speaker in the Madeline McElveen Distinguished Preaching Series and an executive vice president of The Aspen Institute.
Photo 4: Rev. Russell J. Levenson Jr. is the final speaker in the Madeline McElveen Distinguished Preaching Series and rector of St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas.