news-category: Campus News

Gardner-Webb Hosts Ryan Burge for Greene Lectureship on March 5

Expert to Discuss History and Characteristics of the ‘Nones’ — Religiously Unaffiliated Americans

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—National author and speaker, Ryan Burge, will be the guest speaker for the Greene Lectureship at Gardner-Webb University on Tuesday, March 5, in Dover Chapel. Burge is an expert on the “Nones” — religiously unaffiliated Americans — and has been featured in the “New York Times” and appeared on “60 minutes.”

The event is free and open to the public, and three lectures will be offered throughout the day:

  • 9 a.m. – “The Rise of the Nones: A 50-Year History of the American Religious Landscape.”
  • 10:15 a.m. – “All Nones Are Not the Same: A Closer Examination of Non-Religion in the United States.
  • 1 p.m. – “Religion Has Become a Luxury Good — The Implications for American Democracy and Culture.”

Dr. Robert Canoy, professor of Christian theology and dean of the School of Divinity, noted the relevancy of Burge’s research into the growing number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation. “Ryan Burge has dedicated most of his academic career researching and studying this movement,” Canoy observed. “His interests, moreover, are not just academic since he also serves as a Baptist minister. Of all the topics that should be on our radar today, this one ranks as highly as any that I know.”

Burge is an associate professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. He is the author or co-author of four books including “The Nones, 20 Myths about Religion and Politics in America, and The Great Dechurching.”

He has published over 30 articles and book chapters in academic journals concerning religion and politics. His work has also been featured in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. When he appeared on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper called him, “one of the leading data analysts of religion and politics in the United States.”

Burge is also the research director for “Faith Counts,” a non-profit, interfaith organization that promotes the value of religion to the American public. He also serves as a pastor in the American Baptist Church, having served his congregation for over 17 years. He and his wife, Jacqueline, have been married for 16 years and they have two boys, Holden and Reid.

The Rev. and Mrs. C.O. and Eliza Greene Lectureship was established in 1993 to preserve the legacy of excellence in pastoral ministry characterized by Greene, who served for approximately 14 years as director of Missions for the Kings Mountain Baptist Association (now Greater Cleveland County Baptist Association). Prior to that ministry, Greene served as pastor of four churches in Cleveland County and of two other churches in North Carolina. The Lectureship is administered by the Pittman Center for Congregational Enrichment and funded by family members, friends, and members of churches where the Greene served as pastor. Held annually on the GWU campus, the Lectureship’s purpose is to address various dimensions of pastoral ministry.

For more information about the program, please contact Lisa Hollifield at [email protected].

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4270 or email [email protected] with your request.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

Previous News Article

Considering Who and What is Celebrated During Black History Month

Next News Article

Gardner-Webb Theatre Department Presents ‘Sylvia’ Feb. 15-18

Related News

  • News Article

    Gardner-Webb Signs Bailey Wigness to Contract Extension

    Head Softball Coach Signs Extension Following Best Big South Finish in 12 Seasons BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb Head Softball Coach Bailey Wigness has signed a contract extension, the Department of Athletics announced on Tuesday, May 28. This past season, Wigness led the Runnin’ Bulldogs to their highest finish in the Big South since the 2012 season. […]

    A graphic with a phot of Bailey Wigness
  • News Article

    Gardner-Webb Clubs Recognized for Service to Campus and Community

    ASL Club Advisor Robert Moore, Campus Ministries United, and Pre-Health Society win Top Awards BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Hope Saunders, Gardner-Webb assistant director of Student Engagement, recently recognized leaders and advisors of the University’s clubs and organizations. Saunders noted that in 2023-2024 there were 37 groups for students to get plugged into. Four new clubs were introduced: […]

    a group of students with their awards
  • News Article

    Members of Gardner-Webb’s Concert Choir Ready for Trip and D-Day Observance

    GWU is the Only N.C. College Invited to Perform in 80th Anniversary Concert in Abbaye-aux-Hommes BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Gardner-Webb Department of Music started making plans last year for its trip to France to perform during the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Soon, the many hours of practice and preparation will be rewarded as 16 students and […]