Al Staggs to lead 2011 February Meetings

Al Staggs to lead 2011 February Meetings

Jan. 11, 2011

Contact: Karen B. Eldridge, Director of Communications

The Rev. Dr. Al Staggs, a minister, actor and comedian from Santa Fe, N.M., will lead Maryville College’s 2011 February Meetings, scheduled for Feb. 7-8.

Staggs, who performs dramatic monologues based on important theological figures, as well as stand-up comedy and interpretation around the theology of humor, will give three performances centered on the 2011 February Meetings’ theme, “Acting Boldly: The Courageous Faith.”

All performances will be held in the Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre of the Clayton Center for the Arts and are free and open to the community.

“Al Staggs has a strong reputation as a performer and an interpreter of people whose faith has led them to stand for justice,” said the Rev. Anne D. McKee, campus minister. “He helps us see historical figures in a new way, and so prompts us to consider how our deepest convictions call us to help make the world a better place.”

On Feb. 7, at 7 p.m., Staggs will perform “A View from the Underside: The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” a one-person play that takes the audience into the cell where the German theologian awaits execution for his involvement in the German resistance movement during World War II.

Staggs’ second performance, “Laughter for Life,” will begin at 1 p.m., Feb. 8. In this show, Staggs will perform several of his zany comedic impressions, emphasizing the importance of humor in aiding spiritual, emotional and physical health.

The last performance, “Clarence Jordan and the God Movement,” is scheduled for 7 p.m., Feb. 8. Through a monologue, Staggs tells the story of a farmer, Baptist minister and biblical scholar who, in 1942, founded the interracial Christian community of Koinonia in South Georgia and later went on to co-found the Fund for Humanity. The fund and the development of Koinonia became the model for Habitat for Humanity International.

Prior to becoming a full-time performing artist, Staggs was a minister and hospital chaplain. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University, a master’s degree in religious education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a master’s degree in theology from Harvard Divinity School and a doctor of ministry degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

In 2008, Staggs published A Pilgrim in Rome: Cries of Dissent, a collection of poetry that addresses the issues of racism, peace, the Iraq war, sexism, patriotism, greed, the United States as Empire and injustice.

Held annually at the College since 1877, February Meetings have offered the College and local community an opportunity to come together to consider questions of faith and responsible living in the world. In years past, guest speakers and special music have been highlights of the condensed lecture series, which is open to all members of the College community, people in the area and visitors, including the College’s Board of Church Visitors.

For more information on the 2011 February Meetings leader, visit

For more information on February Meetings, contact the Samuel Tyndale Wilson Center for Campus Ministry at 865.981.8299.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.