Franklin returns to Chautauqua pulpit


Mary Lee Talbot
Staff writer 

The Rev. Robert M. Franklin, former director of the Department of Religion and senior pastor for Chautauqua Institution from 2014 to 2017, will preach at the 9:15 a.m. morning worship service today in the Amphitheater. He is the third and final preacher stepping up to the pulpit this week to fill in for the Most Rev. Michael Curry, who postponed his week-long chaplaincy to 2024. 

Franklin’s sermon title is “A Grandmother and a Garden: Modeling Moral Leadership.”

Franklin is president emeritus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, serving from 2007 through 2012. Currently, he is a senior adviser to the president of Emory University and serves as the James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership at Emory. He was a visiting scholar at Stanford University in 2013

He is a presidential fellow for the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership at Morehouse College. 

In 2020, he was a candidate for Congress to complete the term of his friend and mentor, U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia’s 5th Congressional District. He is the author of four books, including  Moral Leadership: Integrity, Courage, Imagination, published in 2020.  He has provided commentaries for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and televised commentary for Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting.  Educated at Morehouse College where he earned a bachelor’s degree; Harvard Divinity School, where he earned a master’s degree of divinity; and the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he earned a doctorate degree in philosophy, Franklin currently serves on the boards of the Princeton Theological Seminary and the Centers for Disease Control Foundation. He has worked with three U.S. presidents on their signature initiatives. including President Bill Clinton’s “One America,“ President George W. Bush’s “Community and Faith Based Initiative,” and President Barack Obama‘s “My Brother’s Keeper.” 


The author Mary Lee Talbot

Mary Lee Talbot writes the recap of the morning worship service. A life-long Chautauquan, she is a Presbyterian minister, author of Chautauqua’s Heart: 100 Years of Beauty and a history of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. She edited The Streets Where We Live and Shalom Chautauqua. She lives in Chautauqua year-round with her Stabyhoun, Sammi.