18th Annual Perkins Lecture Series

The Perkins Center welcomes Rev. Sandra Maria Van Opstal for the 2024 Perkins Lecture Series, April 23. This is an annual time of community gathering that creates space for mutual learning and reflection with students, staff, faculty and community. 

The JPC has become an embodiment of this idea of "living into the legacy". The Center is part of the legacy of Dr. John Perkins that continues the work of justice, reconciliation and community development. This year earmarks our 20 year partnership with the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation. We will have Elizabeth Perkins and Priscilla Perkins joining us. 

We look forward to hosting pastor, activist, and author Sandra Van Opstal as she challenges, as well as, helps us dream within the theme of Justice and Spirituality. She is executive director of Chasing Justice and author of The Next Worship and Forty Days of Being An Eight. A leading voice on the intersection of faith and justice.   



Tuesday, April 23

Chapel with Elizabeth Perkins  Elizabeth Perkins

11:10 a.m. | First Free Methodist Church Sanctuary, across from SPU Campus

Co-President of the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation, Elizabeth Perkins will bring her passion into sharing as this year's Perkins Lecture Series Chapel speaker. As program and mission director, she leads the Perkins Justice Pilgrimage and coordinates the foundation's efforts on mission teams, internships, and children/adult programs. 

Michelle Lang-Raymond will lead us in worship for this All-University Chapel. 


CCDA Pacific Northwest Network Lunch

12:30–3 p.m. | Library Seminar Room, SPU Campus | register here

CCDA PNW Regional Network is partnering to host a lunch and the opportunity to dialogue with Sandra Van Opstal about faith and justice.


SPU JPC 20th Anniversary Reception

6:00 p.m. | Upper Gwinn, SPU Campus

Join us for a meet and greet with the Perkins family and celebrate our 20 years of ministry before this year's Perkins Lecture. Light appetizers served.


18th Perkins Lecture with Rev. Sandra Van Opstal 

7:00 p.m. | Upper Gwinn, SPU Campus

A leading voice on the intersection of faith and justice, Rev. Sandra Van Opstal will provide the 18th Perkins Lecture on justice and spirituality. She is the executive director of Chasing Justice and author of The Next Worship.


Meet the speakers


Rev. Sandra Marie Van Opstal

Sandra Maria Van Opstal is a second-generation Latina pastor, activist, author, and a powerful leading voice on the intersection of faith and justice. She is executive director of Chasing Justice, a BIPOC-led movement that mobilizes the next generation of Christians to live justly. Sandra’s distinctiveness comes from working in both local and global contexts as a practitioner and academic, which has solidified her calling to disrupt oppressive systems within the church and center marginalized voices. She served as executive pastor at Grace and Peace Church on Chicago’s west side and as an activist in her community. She holds a Masters of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is currently pursuing doctoral work in Urban Leadership and Transformation. Sandra is the author of The Next Worship, Forty Days on Being An Eight, as well as contributor to the New York Times bestselling book A Rhythm of Prayer.


Elizabeth Perkins 

Elizabeth Perkins is co-president of the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation and program and mission director, where she coordinates efforts for the foundation on mission teams, internship opportunities, children/adult programs, summer arts camp, and Perkins Justice Pilgrimages. She has spent time in Africa ministering and serving with the Navigators. Her goal is simple yet profound: Helping next generations encounter and follow Jesus to bless a broken world.

Elizabeth brings passion and purpose, whether she is guiding you through the intricacies of establishing and managing your foundation or helping you establish a youth ministry or mentoring program. When she shares her excitement for God’s call on her life, she says, “Looking back over my life, I see how God’s hand has brought me to this time and place. This represents not only where we are in our own lives, but where we want to take others as well.”


Michelle Lang-Raymond

Michelle Lang-Raymond is the founder and executive director of Acts On Stage — a new community theater focused on centering the voices, talents, and initiatives of People of Color and creatives of faith.

To her current work, Michelle brings years of experience in community development and pastoral ministry — most recently serving as campus pastor at Warner Pacific University. Michelle is a singer, songwriter, and worship leader, as well as front person for her own gospel band Michelle Lang & Still Water.

She blended her passions as a producer, playwright, and activist to create the interactive workshop experience called “The Art of Tough Talks.” She has a BA in organizational psychology and a master’s degree In religion. Michelle is a native of Mississippi and considers herself a Southern girl who relocated to the Kingdom where she enjoys life on purpose with her husband, Jay.


Posted: Friday, March 22, 2024