Chowan University Hosts Virtual Taylor Religious Heritage Lecture
Chowan Alumni, Dr. Maurice Fluitt ‘09, and Rev. Craig Janney ‘04 were the featured lecturers of this year’s Taylor Religious Heritage lecture series. This endowed lectureship was established in 1994 by Rev. Dr. R. Hargus and Mrs. Doris T. Taylor for the Chowan University community. Rev. Mari Wiles, Minister to the University, introduced the series. She expressed her appreciation of the Taylors for this lectureship which continues to host individuals who “enrich our lives and encourage us on our Christian journey.”
Tenacity and technology helped the Taylor Religious Heritage Lecture move forward during these pandemic days. For the safety of all, the lectures were broadcasted on the Chowan Youtube channel. Rev. Janney’s lecture aired on Monday, September 21st, and Dr. Fluitt’s lecture followed on September 23rd.
Rev. Janney graduated from Chowan in 2004 with a B.A. in Religion and was a four-year starter for the football team. After completing his Master of Divinity degree at Gardner-Webb University, Janney returned to Chowan in 2007 to serve as Associate Campus Minister. He also held positions in Admissions and Academic Success. Currently, Janney is the president and founder of Greenfields Church Consulting and is the pastor of St. Stephens United Church of Christ in Harrisonburg, VA.
Along with encouraging Chowan students, Rev. Janney reflected on the relationship he shared with Dr. Taylor whom he affectionately called “Chap.” Janney recounted Taylor’s “generous orthodoxy” on baptism and communion which in 1957 created a great stir at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Creatively, Janney likened the themes of baptism and communion to his own spiritual awakenings. While serving as an associate minister at Chowan he had a “proverbial baptism” into the black church tradition, “I will always stand out in a black church, and yet I have never felt so at home and welcomed with my black siblings on their turf and in their churches.” Later in Janney’s remarks, he quoted Romans 6:4 and shared “If I had to describe my Chowan experience in one word it would be baptism -- dying to my old high school imposter self, learning to learn, and being willing to have my life renewed,”
Dr. Fluitt is an assistant professor at the Howard University College of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. He earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Allied Health from Chowan in 2009. After Chowan, Fluitt studied at Howard University earning a Master of Science and Ph.D.in Genetics and Human Genetics. Dr. Fluitt is also known as “Youth Pastor Moe” at The Greater Deliverance Church in Capitol Heights, Maryland where he serves as the youth and young adult pastor.
For his lecture, Dr. Fluitt shared with students lessons he learned in his academic pursuits. He asked students to define their “here” and shared that the journey is as important as the destination. Fluitt encouraged students that college is important and that “the sacred ground you walk across to the ‘Caf’ or to the Columns building is absolutely necessary.” He counted the hours he spent in the Whitaker Library and time in campus ministry as key steps to his current success. Fluitt drew parallels of his preparation with the biblical story of David, reminding students that David was a shepherd before he was King. David was prepared to defeat Goliath because he had spent time in the fields protecting the sheep.
The common themes of pursuing education and spiritual reflection were woven through both lectures. Dr. Fluitt and Rev. Janney used their lectures to challenge and encourage students. By reflecting on their own experiences, they each also shared their deep affection for their alma mater. These distinguished alumni would have preferred to give their remarks in person and to meet with students. However, because of their willingness to lecture to a camera, their wise words are forever accessible on Chowan’s Youtube channel. Chowan Campus Ministry invites you to hear their remarks at this link.