Fall IFC Season Begins with Jill Peláez Baumgaertner

Aug 19, 2022 | King University

Author, poet and editor to speak at King’s opening convocation

BRISTOL, Tenn., Aug. 19, 2022 — As part of its 2022-23 speaker series, “Hunger and Gladness,” King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture (IFC) is welcoming Jill Peláez Baumgaertner, Ph.D., poet and Wheaton College professor of English emerita, for its opening presentation.

Baumgaertner currently serves as poetry editor of The Christian Century, a role she has also fulfilled for The Cresset and First Things. Her book, “Flannery O’Connor: A Proper Scaring” is still in print after 30 years, and her work has garnered numerous national awards, including a nomination for the Pushcart Prize. An anthology of her poetry from the Christian Century, “Taking Root in the Heart,” will be published in 2023.

Baumgaertner will speak twice on Wednesday, Aug. 24, first presenting “God’s Call: Forgiveness, Freedom, and Vocation” at 9:15 a.m. in the Memorial Chapel on King’s main campus. At 7 p.m. that evening she will present readings from her most recent work, “From Shade to Shine,” at Central Presbyterian Church, 331 Euclid Ave., Bristol, Virginia. Both presentations are free and open to the community.

“We are delighted to welcome Jill as our inaugural speaker for the 2022-23 speaker series,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the IFC. “Our focus this year will be on vocation, or the internal calling to find, as writer Frederick Buechner puts it, the place where our deep hunger and the world’s deep gladness meet. As a Fulbright fellow who has penned prose, poetry, and even song texts and libretti performed by the Boston Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Jill is an excellent guide to lead us into an exploration of the arts, faith, and the forces that pull us toward beauty.”

During her teaching years, Baumgaertner served as the dean of Humanities and Theological Studies at Wheaton College, and is also the past president of the Conference on Christianity. After she retired from Wheaton in 2017, she returned for a term as Acting Provost and retired once again in 2018. She has two children – Anna, a teacher and professional violinist, and Martin, a video and film producer – and four grandchildren. She and her husband, Martin, a retired judge, lived in Oak Park and River Forest for 25 years before moving into Chicago in 2003.

More information on upcoming IFC speakers will soon be available at



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