Seeger Chapel steeple against an orange sunset

Emmanuel and Langston Centre welcome Rev. Dr. Walter Earl Fluker to discuss Howard Thurman’s legacy

MILLIGAN, Tenn. (Sept. 13, 2023)—Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan and the Langston Centre in Johnson City, Tennessee, welcome renowned ethicist Rev. Dr. Walter Earl Fluker to discuss “African American Spirituality and the Legacy of Howard Thurman.”

Fluker’s presentation serves as the inaugural Langston Centre Lectureship and will occur on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 3 p.m. at the Langston Centre. The event is free and open to the public.

“The Langston Centre is a vital part of our community, and we are honored to be able to partner with them to host the first Langston Centre Lectureship,” said Dr. Gary Selby, professor of ministerial formation and faculty director of Emmanuel’s Pathways for Tomorrow initiative. “We are also grateful for the support of the Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow grant for making this event possible.”

Fluker will discuss the life and legacy of Howard Thurman, an African American author, theologian and civil rights leader. Thurman was a prominent religious figure throughout the 20th century and mentored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thurman also co-founded the first interracial and interdenominational church in the United States.

During his career, Thurman made an impact on southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee. He was ordained and began his ministry career at First Baptist Church of Roanoke in Roanoke, Virginia, in 1925. He also led the Tri-City Preaching Mission in Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol, Tennessee, in 1955. Today, his words are etched onto a plaque on the corner of East Main Street and Buffalo Street in downtown Johnson City. The quote reads, “Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Rev. Dr. Walter Earl Fluker

Fluker is a consultant, speaker, academic and worship leader who has engaged with ethical leadership for over 30 years. He currently serves as Dean’s Professor of Spirituality, Ethics and Leadership at Candler School of Theology at Emory University; is Professor Emeritus of Ethical Leadership (formerly the Martin Luther King, Jr. Chair) at Boston University; and is the editor of the Howard Thurman Papers Project.

Fluker previously served as the founding executive director of the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership and the Coca-Cola Professor of Leadership Studies at Morehouse College. He developed a Massive Online Operating Course (MOOC) titled, “Ethical Leadership: Character, Civility and Community,” in 2016. Globally, over 14,000 participants have engaged with the course’s theoretical and practical elements of ethical leadership for education, business, government, philanthropy and global citizenship.

Langston Centre Lectureship

The Langston Centre Lectureship strives to strengthen connections between individuals and churches in the community. Funding for the Langston Centre Lectureship is made possible through Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan’s Pathways for Tomorrow initiative. This grant program is funded through the generosity of Lilly Endowment, Inc. to further strengthen Emmanuel in the important work of preparing and supporting pastoral leaders and nurturing thriving churches.

Emmanuel is a graduate seminary rooted in the churches of the Stone-Campbell tradition, including the independent Christian Church and Churches of Christ. With over 1,650 alumni serving Christ around the world, Emmanuel offers four degree programs: Master of Arts in Religion, Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Ministries and Doctor of Ministry. Learn more about the seminary at

The Langston Centre is a multicultural facility that promotes community engagement through arts, education and leadership activities. Langston Centre programs include multicultural history and educational opportunities designed to bring diverse groups of people together. The Centre is located in the historic African American Langston High School (1893-1965) at 315 Elm Street in Johnson City.

Posted by Greer, Allie E on September 13, 2023.