Hip hop artists will share the pulpit with theologians at the Howard University School of Divinity’s 95th annual convocation starting Wednesday as part of an effort to attract young people turned off by traditional church.

The two-day gathering will explore the intersection of the church and hip hop culture. Among the artists included in the Misfit Tour are Da’Truth and Sean Simmonds.

 “We realized that with a lot of traditional churches their greatest challenges is getting and relating to the youth,” said the Rev. Delores H. Carpenter, a professor at Howard’s School of Divinity. “You have defenders and critics of hip hop. The question is ‘Do we demonize it or baptize it?’”

 Wednesday’s highlight include a discussion at Reid Temple AME church in Glenn Dale, Md. There is also a concert.

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, right, teaches a sociology course at Georgetown that focuses on the life and work of Jay-Z on October, 31, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post) (Bill O'Leary/WASHINGTON POST)

“It is no accident that when most of us drive to church, we pass more young people on the street then we find in our congregations,” said Alton Pollard, Dean of the Howard University School of Divinity.  “Our congregations have great difficulty speaking to young people. We have to take the gifts that young people have seriously.”

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