Gary Dorrien to Speak on Early Social Gospel Leader Reverdy Ransom at Union Theological Seminary

NEW YORK, September 16, 2008 The Friends of the Burke Library and the Friends of the Columbia Libraries will co-sponsor a lecture by Gary Dorrien, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University, on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. The lecture, “Defying White Supremacism: Reverdy C. Ransom and the Black Social Gospel,” will take place at the Social Hall, Union Theological Seminary and is free and open to the public.


In the early 1880s, proponents of what came to be called "the social gospel" founded what is now known as social ethics. Professor Dorrien will explore the role Reverdy C. Ransom, a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, played as one of the first great figures of the black social gospel tradition and an important social gospel leader.

Gary Dorrien, an Episcopal priest, teaches at both Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University. He is the author of 13 books and approximately 175 articles that range across the fields of ethics, social theory, theology, philosophy, politics, and history. His major work, Social Ethics in the Making, will be published by Blackwell in November 2008.

The event will begin with a reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by the lecture at 6:30 at the Social Hall, Union Theological Seminary (3041 Broadway at 121st Street). For more information regarding this event, or to attend, please respond to To view a listing of events, visit

The mission of the Friends of the Burke Library is to maintain an association of persons interested in the Library and its collections and facilities; to stimulate greater awareness of the importance of the Library to the development of the Seminary, its communities, and the world of scholarship; to sponsor exhibits, lectures, publications, and other special programs designed to encourage appreciation of the work of the Library; to develop support for the Library in the form of endowments, memorials, and other gifts; to raise funds for the purchase of needed books, etc. not otherwise procurable; and, generally, to promote the enrichment of the Library and Union Theological Seminary.

The Friends of the Columbia Libraries aim to cultivate an informed interest in and support for the Columbia Libraries. The Friends foster the growth and improvement of the Libraries through financial and in-kind gifts and provide opportunities for creating, collecting, and preserving library materials. The Friends also promote the visibility of the Libraries through sponsorship of educational and social events.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 25 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at is the gateway to its services and resources.