SOUTHPORT, NC, Sept. 19, 2019 — Renowned Presbyterian poet and pastor, the Rev. Dr. J. Barrie Shepherd will be the honored guest speaker Oct. 6 – 7 at Southport Presbyterian Church (SPC). His visit will culminate the recognition of the Season of Peace with a celebration of Worldwide Communion Sunday and the Presbyterian Church USA Peacemaking offering.
On October 6 Shepherd will be the guest preacher at the Sunday 11 a.m. worship service, followed by a fellowship gathering with refreshments, poetry reading and book-signing. On Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. SPC will host a poetry reading by Shepherd followed by an open discussion of peace, justice, and faith prompted by the previous day’s sermon and the poetry readings. All are welcome to both events.
A long-time member of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Shepherd has published a life-time of poems and prayers steeped in the challenge and hope of the gospel as it applies to our shared life in the world. In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship’s Endowment 75 Campaign, Shepherd’s newest poem, Bequest, was written to reflect on the bequest of peace that Jesus gave to his people. The verse from the poem and from John 14:27 lifts up the legacy of Jesus: “My Peace I leave with you.” The endowment supports resources for the future of peacemaking.
A native of Great Britain and Royal Air Force veteran, the Rev. Dr. Barrie Shepherd’s experience of World War II during his early years spurred reflection on the impact of violence and war. He has written extensively in the area of spirituality and religious studies. More than 600 of his poems and articles have appeared in both sacred and secular publications. He has preached and lectured at Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, and other universities, colleges and seminaries, as well as in distinguished pulpits across the USA, Canada, the UK, Europe and Africa.
Shepherd is a graduate of The University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Yale Divinity School, Yale Graduate School and The Hartford Theological Seminary, and also holds the degree of Doctor of Letters (D. Litt. honoris causa) from Muskingum College. He has served as senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York, known as “the mother church of NYC Presbyterianism” that boosts a long line of illustrious preachers, from Jonathan Edwards in the early 18th century to Harry Emerson Fosdick in the 20th. Prior to that Shepherd served for 16 years as senior minister of the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church in PA.
He has served the national Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) as Vice Moderator of the Synod of New England, as Moderator of the Presbytery of Muskingum Valley, as Chair of the Committee on Worship of the General Assembly and in other posts. In 2006 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of The Presbyterian Writers’ Guild. He is a national board member of The Covenant Network, a US Trustee of Saint Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland. He completed a term as President of the Saint Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia founded in 1747 and was a chaplain for the Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York.
After several years of serving in college chaplaincy and teaching, Shepherd retired in 2000 and began writing full-time. He and his wife Mhairi have four daughters and three granddaughters. The Shepherds now reside in Scarborough, Maine, where Barrie spends his time guest preaching, teaching, writing and playing the euphonium in various local musical ensembles.
Shepherd’s published books include The Diary of Daily Prayer series; Faces at the Cross; Faces at the Manger; Prayers from the Mount –Daily Meditations on the Sermon of the Mount.