The Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes
A brief biographical description
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1942, The Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes is an American Baptist minister ordained to the Christian Ministry by The First Baptist Church of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Since 1970 he has served in The Memorial Church, Harvard University; and since 1974 as Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in The Memorial Church.
A member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and of the Faculty of Divinity of Harvard University, Professor Gomes holds degrees from Bates College (A.B., 1965), and from the Harvard Divinity School (S.T.B.,1968); and thirty-six honorary degrees: New England College, Waynesburg College, Gordon College, Knox College, The University of the South, Duke University, The University of Nebraska, Wooster College, Bates College, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, Trinity College, Bowdoin College, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, Colby College, Olivet College, Mount Holyoke College, Furman University, Baker University, Mount Ida College, Willamette University, The State University of New York at Geneseo, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Ursinus College, Wagner College, Lesley University, Williams College, Virginia Theological Seminary, Morris College, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hamilton College, Union College, Tuskegee University, Lasell College, The General Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York, Lafayette College, and Augustana College. In 2007, he was keynote speaker at the 37th Trinity Institute National Theological Conference; and Harvard University in 2001 presented him with The Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award. He is an Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College, The University of Cambridge, England, where The Gomes Lectureship is established in his name.
Widely regarded as one of America’s most distinguished preachers, Professor Gomes fulfills preaching and lecturing engagements throughout America and the British Isles. In 2007 he preached at the Inauguration of Deval L. Patrick as Governor of Massachusetts; in 2005 he presented a series of sermons in St. Edmundsbury Cathedral, England, in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall; in 2000 he delivered The University Sermon before The University of Cambridge, England, and The Millennial Sermon in Canterbury Cathedral, England; and in 1998 he presented The Beecher Lectures on Preaching, in Yale Divinity School. Named Clergy of the Year in 1998 by Religion in American Life, Professor Gomes participated in the presidential inaugurations of Ronald Wilson Reagan and of George Herbert Walker Bush. His New York Times and national best-selling books, The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart, (1996); and Sermons: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living (1998), were published by William Morrow and Company, Inc.; The Good Life: Truths That Last in Times of Need was published in 2002 by HarperSanFrancisco, which published Strength for the Journey: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living in spring 2003. In 2005, The Backward Glance and the Forward Look was published by WordTech. He has also published ten volumes of sermons as well as numerous articles and papers.
Professor Gomes serves as trustee of The National Cathedral School, Washington, DC., as Harvard University trustee of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and as trustee of The Roxbury Latin School and of Bates College; and he is a member of The Massachusetts Historical Society, The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, and a sometime Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, London, England. Former acting director of The W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, Harvard University, he is past president of The Signet Society, Harvard’s oldest literary society; and former trustee of Wellesley College, of The Public Broadcasting Service, and of Plimoth Plantation. He is past president and trustee of The Pilgrim Society of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Profiled by Robert Boynton in The New Yorker, and interviewed by Morley Safer on 60 Minutes, The Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes was included in the summer 1999 premiere issue of Talk magazine as part of its feature article, ‘The Best Talkers in America: Fifty Big Mouths We Hope Will Never Shut Up.’