Bestselling Author and Creator of Black Liturgies to Speak

Black Liturgies is a project seeking to integrate the truths of dignity, lament, rage, justice, and rest into written prayers.

Concordia’s Campus Ministry will present the 2023 Lee-Riley Lecture in Faith and Learning featuring Cole Arthur Riley at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, in the Centrum, Knutson Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Riley, a writer, liturgist, speaker, and author of "This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories that Make Us," and a New York Times bestseller, will engage in Q&A following her lecture with a reception after in the atrium.

"We're pleased to have Cole Arthur Riley come to campus to speak with us," the Rev. Dave Adams said. "We expect it to be a timely, informative, and interesting evening."

Riley studied writing at the University of Pittsburgh and currently serves as the spiritual teacher in residence with Cornell University’s Office of Spirituality and Meaning-Making. She is also the creator of Black Liturgies, a space that integrates spiritual practice with Black emotion, Black literature, and the Black body; and a project of The Center for Dignity and Contemplation where she serves as curator.

The Lee-Riley Lectureship in Faith and Learning Endowed Fund was established in 2019 by Mike ’79 and Mary (Cotton) ’79 Lee, Ron ’81 and Karen Lee, and Sue Riley. The Rev. Carl H. Lee ’52, Concordia campus pastor from 1961 to 1995, and his wife, Ann, formed a deep friendship with Daniel and Sandra Sue Riley. Both couples experienced their sense of spiritual presence in a variety of ways including through poetry, art, music, nature, literature, and profoundly through their friendship with each other. The purpose of the fund is to inform and enrich the student and faculty experience by providing a lecture series that will foster their individual development, encourage acceptance and community involvement, and provide insights on how to weave faith throughout their lifes journey. 

The Lee-Riley Lectureship in Faith and Learning Endowed Fund has provided funds for speakers Valarie Kaur, 2021; John Notlner, 2020; and Barbara Brown Taylor, 2019.