Opening of the new Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, will highlight the annual Summit at Abilene Christian University, which will meet through noon Wednesday.

The center, which will be headed by religion professor Jerry Taylor, will be located on the first floor of the Biblical Studies Building. Spain was an ACU religion professor who delivered a blockbuster lecture during Bible Lectureship, the original name for the annual event, in 1960. Spain chastised the university for its policy of not admitting African American students. Two years later, the first black students enrolled at the university. 


Alisha Taylor, a 2017 ACU graduate, will play the role of a hotel housekeeper in Tuesday night’s play at ACU, “The Mountaintop.” The play portrays the last night of  of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life.

Tuesday night, the university will present the play, “The Mountaintop” at 7 p.m. in the Williams Performing Arts Center. The public is invited. The play, set in the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, is based on the last night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. The play features two characters, King and a motel housekeeper, who will be played by Alisha Taylor, a 2017 ACU graduate and daughter of Jerry Taylor, director of the new Spain Cente.r

In addition to the ribbon cutting and other events surrounding the opening of the center, Summit will include numerous speakers, classes, exhibits, and more. All activities are open to the public. Most are free. For a complete schedule go to

“There’s lots and lots of things going on,” said David Wray, director of the event, which is in its 112th year.

Summit, which annually draws several thousand visitors to Abilene, originally was called Bible Lectureship until a name change a few years ago. In addition to the people who attend events on campus, thousands more watch on social media. Lectures will be posted on social media after the presentations.

Theme for this year’s Summit is “Wholeness in a Broken World: Together Through the Power of the Spirit,” based on insights from the book of Ephesians. Lectures will be delivered at 11 a.m. Monday-Wednesday at various venues. Most will be in Moody Coliseum.

Classes will be held all day Monday and Tuesday and until noon on Wednesday. They are based on pathways that are all related to the overall theme. Six pathways will be presented on Monday, five on Tuesday, and four on Wednesday. A few of the pathways are Ethical Wholeness, Mercy and Justice Wholeness, and Worship Wholeness.

On Wednesday, David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, will announce Barna’s latest survey, “Christians at Work.” The newest survey, conducted in partnership with ACU, explores the intersection of calling and career. Interviews with over 1,400 self-identified Christians across the United States and analysis of the results were done by Barna researchers. ACU representatives provided feedback on the analysis.

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