A self-described “preacher’s kid,” “church nerd” and “annoying little brat who asked all the ‘wrong’ questions about God, faith, doubt, life and the Bible” will be the speaker for the 2023 Believers Church Lecture Series October 10-11, 2023. 

Debie Thomas will present talks under the overall title “A More Spacious Christianity: Good News for Our World” for the series, hosted by Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, part of Fresno Pacific University. All events will take place on the main FPU campus at 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno.

  • Tuesday, October 10 
    • 2:00 p.m. | Public lecture: “Recovering the ‘S’ words: Sin and Salvation for the 21st century Church” Lyles Main Theater, Warkentine Culture & Arts Center No cost or
    • 6:00 p.m. | Public lecture: “Embracing the Mess: Finding Christ in Hard Places”

Both events will be in the Susan V. Lyles Theater, Warkentine Culture & Arts Center. No cost or tickets required. 

  • Wednesday, October 11 
    • 7:30 a.m. | Community Breakfast: “The Story We Live In: Reframing Evangelism” BC Lounge | Cost: $12 and tickets required. 
    • 10:00 a.m. | Chapel: “Holy Wrestling (Genesis 32:22-31)” Lyles Main Theater, Warkentine Culture & Arts Center. No cost or tickets required.

To register for the breakfast and learn more about all events, visit fpu.edu/bcls2023  

Thomas is the author of Into the Mess and Other Jesus Stories (Cascade Books, 2022), and a columnist and contributing editor for The Christian Century. She serves as the minister of lifelong formation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, CA, and leads retreats and workshops on Scripture, Christian formation and writing as spiritual practice. Thomas lives in Scotts Valley, CA, with her husband, Alex, and they are the parents of two children. She studied English Literature at Wellesley College and Brown University, and earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Ohio State University. 

Born in Kerala, South India, and raised in Boston, MA, Thomas says on her website biography that “like many children of immigrants, I grew up juggling a complicated and often confusing mix of identities: South Asian, New England suburban, evangelical, and feminist. In the murky ‘in-betweenness’ of those identities, I learned that life is far more varied and messy than it is neat or certain, and that faith is not about finding once-and-for-all answers, but about delving deeper and deeper into mystery.” 

More about Thomas at debiethomas.com 

The Believers Church Lecture Series is an ongoing exploration of the relevance of the Believers Church tradition for the shape of contemporary Christian thought and life. It is supported by an endowment established by the late Dr. Herbert and Jessica Penner of Bakersfield, CA.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations