Join the Converse community for two evenings of inspirational and challenging performances by Al Staggs on Monday and Tuesday, March 5 – 6 at 7 pm in Gibbs Chapel (Montgomery Student Center). On Monday evening, Al will portray the Cathloic Bishop and martyr, Oscar Romero. On Tuesday evening, he will portray Clarence Jordan, who in 1942 founded the interracial Koinonia community in South Georgia. Both events are free admission and open to the public.
Oscar Romero of El Salvador was assassinated by gunshot shortly after saying his homily in March of 1980. Although he had once been a very conservative priest and Bishop, Romero became a very vocal spokesperson for the rights of the poor in his nation. His death provoked international outcry for human rights reform in El Salvador. To this day no investigation has revealed Romero’s killers.
Romero is considered by some the unofficial patron saint of the Americas and is often referred to as “San Romero” by Catholic workers in El Salvador. Outside of Catholicism, Romero is honored by other religious denominations of Christendom, including the Church of England through its Common Worship. He is one of ten 20th-century martyrs from across the world who are depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey in London.
Clarence Jordan was a farmer, Baptist minister and biblical scholar who founded the interracial community of Koinonia in south Georgia in 1942. His perspective on Christian discipleship, particularly in regard to the issues of racial equality, war and greed, made him a highly controversial figure in his hometown of Americus and Sumter County, Georgia. Jordan’s life and theology were a radical embodiment of the teachings of Jesus, especially those from the Sermon on the Mount. In 1968 he and Millard Fuller founded Fund for Humanity, which later became Habitat for Humanity International.
Al Staggs holds a B.A. from Hardin-Simmons University, an M.R.E. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Th.M. from Harvard Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He discovered his performing abilities when he began to impersonate famous comedians for his high school classmates and teachers. Following a stint in the U.S. Army as a draftee, he turned his attention to obtaining the necessary education for service as a minister.
During his post graduate studies he was increasingly drawn to those individuals in recent history who had devoted their lives to justice and peace concerns. After two decades of working as a parish minister he came to terms with the fact that his real passions related to performing and to working for peace and justice.
Twenty years ago Staggs combined those two passions by writing and performing a one-person play that takes his audience into the prison cell of the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A few years later he took the step of leaving the pastoral ministry and began a career as a full-time performing artist. He finds great satisfaction in bringing notable figures to life and sharing their relevant messages with audiences throughout the world. He also continues to enjoy performing his many comedic impressions in a humor program designed to entertain business, civic and medical organizations and church groups.