Adult Education · June 22, 2023

Kate Bowler to Deliver the Sixth Gotto Lecture

The event is set for Wednesday, Jan. 31, in the Sanctuary and on livestream.

Register for this year’s Gotto Lecture featuring Kate Bowler here!

The bestselling author, religious historian and podcast host Kate Bowler will deliver the sixth Anita and Antonio Gotto Lecture at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Bowler is the author of six books that range from history and memoir to devotionals and blessings. She is an associate professor of the history of Christianity in North America at Duke Divinity School and hosts the popular podcast Everything Happens.

“Kate Bowler pairs rich theological reflection with savvy cultural analysis,” says Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston. “She is an honest, joyful, insightful theologian. She has many fans among young adults in the church. She has all the qualities that make her a perfect fit for this lectureship.”

Bowler was born in London, where her father was pursuing a PhD in history at King’s College. She grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, received her bachelor of arts degree at Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota, and her master of arts in religion at Yale Divinity School. She completed her PhD at Duke University, where her research into the prosperity gospel led to her first bestselling book, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel (Oxford University Press, 2013).

In 2015, at age 35, Bowler was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, an experience that led to her bestselling memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason (and Other Lies I’ve Loved) (Random House, 2018). In the book, Bowler shares her struggle to understand the personal and intellectual dimensions of the American belief that tragedies are tests of character.

On her podcast, Bowler speaks with such prominent guests as authors Malcolm Gladwell, Anne Lamott and Barbara Brown Taylor, actor Alan Alda and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy about the wisdom and truth they’ve uncovered during difficult circumstances. Everything Happens is now in its 10th season.

In a second memoir, No Cure For Being Human (and Other Truths I Need to Hear) (Penguin Books, 2021), Bowler explores her cancer diagnosis, her ambition and her faith as she tries to come to terms with limitations in a culture that promises anything is possible.

Bowler also is the author of The Preacher’s Wife: The Precarious Power of Evangelical Women Celebrities (Princeton University Press, 2020). She is the co-author with Jessica Richie of The Lives We Actually Have: 100 Blessings for Imperfect Days (Convergent Books, 2023) and Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection (Convergent, 2022).

Registration for the Gotto lecture and other details about the Jan. 31 event will be announced this fall.

Inaugurated in October 2018, the Anita and Antonio Gotto Lecture Series offers compelling talks and presentations by renowned theologians and preachers, writers and scholars, across a range of faith traditions and academic disciplines. The lectureship is made possible through a generous contribution from Anita and Antonio Gotto, longtime members of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.