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Poet/theologian to speak at King, Bristol Public Library

staff report • Feb 22, 2013 at 7:59 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Bonnie Thurston, poet, author and theologian, will speak at both King University and the Bristol Public Library on Monday, Feb. 25, as part of the Buechner Institute Lecture Series.

“Whether reflecting upon her West Virginia mountains, the troubled streets of Jerusalem, or the quiet depths of the human heart, Bonnie Thurston explores the contours of sacred space with the eye of a scholar and the heart of a poet,” said Timothy Ross, minister at Hopwood Christian Church in Milligan College, Tenn., and member of the Buechner Institute’s Governing Board.

Through the years, Thurston has written or edited 20 books and more than 100 articles. Her works include “The Spiritual Landscape of Mark,” “For God Alone: A Primer on Prayer,” and “Belonging to Borders: A Sojourn in the Celtic Tradition.”

“Bonnie Thurston is that rare theologian who is also a poet. This volume, redolent of the Celtic world of saints and sacred places, combined with a Hopkinesque response to the natural world, is a book to be savored,” said Lawrence Cunningham, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, in a review of Thurston’s “Belonging to Borders: A Sojourn in the Celtic Tradition.”

Thurston’s scholarly interests in New Testament include the Gospels of Mark and John, the history of Christian spirituality and prayer. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on Thomas Merton and is an internationally known Merton scholar. Ordained in 1984, she has served as co-pastor, pastor or interim of five churches and twice in overseas ministries.

A native of West Virginia, Thurston now resides in Wheeling, W.Va. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in English with First Honors from Bethany College, and a master of arts degree and doctorate from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Until 2002, Thurston held the William F. Orr Professorship in New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Thurston will speak on “Why Poetry Matters: Beyond the Humanities Requirement” at 9:15 a.m., Monday in King University’s Memorial Chapel, and on “The Poetry of Borders: Appalachian and Celtic,” at 7 p.m., Monday at the Bristol Public Library.

Both events are open to the public and free to attend. For more information, call Dale Brown at (423) 652-4156 or visit www.buechnerinstitute.org.

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