Sessions with a Focus on Baltimore

Baltimore City Tour

Friday, 1:00 PM–5:00 PM
Offsite; Meet at Convention Center – Charles Street Entrance

Your bus tour will visit many of Baltimore’s neighborhoods. We will first visit Federal Hill Park where you can enjoy a scenic view of the Baltimore Harbor and the downtown skyline. Next we visit Fort McHenry, where we will stand and view the harbor where Francis Scott Key gazed through the fog of the dawn’s early light and was inspired to write the historic words to the Star Spangled Banner. In the fort we will see how early American soldiers lived during this era. After visiting the fort, we will take a driving tour of the Mount Vernon neighborhood, viewing the Walters Art Museum, The Engineers Club, Peabody Conservatory of Music, and the beautiful Mount Vernon Methodist Church. We will pass the famous Westminster Cemetery where Edgar Allan Poe is buried on our way back to the Convention Center.

Film: Avalon

Friday, 8:00 PM–10:00 PM
Hilton Batimore – Johnson A*

David A. Shefferman, Manhattan College, Presiding

Sponsored by the Religion, Film, and Visual Culture Group

Avalon (1990) is a feature film directed by Barry Levinson. It is a semi-autobiographical story of a family of Russian Jewish immigrants who have settled in Baltimore, Maryland, at the beginning of the twentieth century. The film is the third in Levinson's series of four "Baltimore Films"—Diner (1982), Tin Men (1987), Avalon (1990), and Liberty Heights (1999)—all set in his hometown during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Avalon explores the themes of Jewish assimilation and how modernity has changed American family life.

Film: Pink Flamingos

Friday, 8:00 PM–10:00 PM
Hilton Baltimore – Latrobe*

Kent Brintnall, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Presiding

Sponsored by the Gay Men and Religion Group, the Queer Studies in Religion Group, the Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Committee, the SBL Bible and Cultural Studies Group, the SBL Gender, Sexuality, and the Bible Group and the SBL LGBT/Queer Hermeneutics Group

Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine goes up against Connie and Raymond Marble, a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as "The Filthiest Person Alive." Pink Flamingos is a 1972 transgressive black comedy exploitation film written, produced, composed, shot, edited, and directed by John Waters. When the film was initially released, it caused a huge degree of controversy due to the wide range of perverse acts performed in explicit detail. It has since become one of the most notorious films ever made. It made an underground star of the flamboyant drag queen actor Divine. Produced on a budget of only $10,000, it was mostly shot on weekends in Phoenix, a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland. Since its release it has had a rather devoted cult following and is one of Waters's most iconic films.

There will be brief presentations and a moderated discussion following the screening.

Chesapeake Watershed Environmental and Ecojustice Tour

Saturday, 9:00 AM–12:00 PM
Offsite; Meet at CC-Charles Street Entrance

Evan Berry, American University, Presiding
Beth Norcross, Wesley Seminary, Presiding

We invite you to join us for a water-centered look at ways that local communities are responding to broader environmental and ecojustice issues as they come to bear on the Chesapeake watershed. This tour will visit several sites in the Baltimore Harbor area, where participants will hear directly from local activists about their efforts to protect and restore their community’s aquatic resources and waterfront neighborhoods, which have borne disproportionate environmental degradation. Representatives from Blue Water Baltimore and other local organizations will help guide our tour of the Charm City’s recuperating waterfront. Questions may be directed to

Fell’s Point Ghost Walk

Saturday, 7:00 PM–9:00 PM
Offsite; Meet at Convention Center – Charles Street Entrance

Picture Fell's Point, in Baltimore, Maryland, as it was: a rowdy seaport town, the birthplace of the sleek and dangerous clipper ship. Its streets full of sailors from foreign lands spilling off ships, immigrants anxious to start a new life, ladies of the night looking to make ends meet, and all the characters looking to make a living off the maritime industry. Given this explosive combination, is it any wonder that many spirits remained behind? Join us under the cover of night to explore the many haunted pubs, shops, and residences. But don't stray too far from the group because you never know when you'll find yourself face-to-face with the unknown. The Original Fell's Point Ghost Walk lasts approximately one hour and is an entirely outdoor walking tour. A bus ride from the Convention Center to Fell's Point and back will be arranged.

Religious Ethics and The Wire

Sunday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Convention Center – 345*

Jonathan Tran, Baylor University, Presiding
Myles Werntz, Baylor University, Presiding

J. Kameron Carter, Duke University
Brian Bantum, Seattle Pacific University
Elise Edwards, Baylor University

Third Sector Academy: A Special Briefing for Baltimore-Area Nonprofits on the National Study of American Religious Giving

Monday, 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Hilton Baltimore – Paca*

J. Shawn Landres, Jumpstart, Los Angeles, CA, Presiding

This is an exciting time for philanthropy in America. The shifting landscape is offering ever more creative ways to do social good. When it comes to religious giving, however, our understanding remains limited.

Studies have shown that religious Americans give more money to congregations than non-religious Americans. But does religion affect whether and how much people donate to nonprofit organizations? How does it affect their choices? What motivates people to give, whether religious or non-religious?The National Study of American Religious Giving (NSARG) answers these questions. It offers comprehensive information about religion and charitable giving, including both behaviors and motivations among religious and non-religious Americans:

  • Where Americans give
  • How and if religion has motivated them to give
  • How families make decisions to give
  • Whether income levels affect giving patterns
  • How giving within each religious tradition compares to that by Americans of other religious traditions

Truly unlike any other study of religion and giving to date, the NSARG is the first ever nationally representative portrait that examines religious giving beyond congregations and missions. The NSARG covers giving toward twelve different types of charitable causes, including helping people in need, medical research, youth and family services, environmental improvement and sustainability, international aid, the arts, and civic and social advocacy. The NSARG is the first study to extend giving and religion studies to include the combination of evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestant, Catholic, and other religious, unaffiliated and nonreligious households. A deeper look specifically at American Jewish giving is also available in the related National Study of American Jewish Giving.

Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
Jim Gerstein, GBA Strategies, Washington DC


*Please note that room locations are subject to change. Be sure to check your Program Book and Annual Meetings At-a-Glance to find the most up to date information.