2017 Annual Meeting

The 7th Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Christian Study Centers will be held this summer in co-operation with our Partner Organization, Opus: the Art of Work, at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. We will begin at 1:30 pm on Monday, July 24 and conclude at noon on Wednesday, July 26.

As always we will be considering what it means to answer the call of Christ in a university environment. Our two main speakers are Drs. Peter Leithart and John Inazu. Dr. Leithart will deliver two lectures focused on the role of the Christian Study Center in contributing to unity among Christians and the model the Eucharist gives Study Centers for gift-exchange and fellowship.  Dr. Inazu will address particular issues in higher education, especially as they relate to his recent call for Christians to advocate a confident pluralism as we live and work in 21st century America. Continue looking below for their detailed bios as well as photos and, soon, a schedule of the meeting.

~ Our Speakers ~


Peter J. Leithart is an American author, minister, theologian, and president of Theopolis Institute for Biblical, Liturgical, & Cultural Studies in Birmingham, Alabama. He previously served as Senior Fellow of Theology and Literature as well as Dean of Graduate Studies at New Saint Andrews College. He is the author of commentaries on the Book of Kings and the Book of Samuel, as well as a Survey of the Old Testament. Other works include books on topics such as Dante’s Inferno, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen. He is also the author of a book of children’s bedtime stories titled Wise Words based on the Book of Proverbs. Leithart blogs at Peter J. Leithart, which is hosted by the journal First Things.

Leithart will address us twice. Here are his descriptions of those lectures: “Unity in the Word”: Jesus calls the church to be one as the Father and Son are one. This is the future of the church, and we need to orient ourselves to the future the Spirit is moving us toward. The liturgy is the center of the church’s life, and the Word is one of the focal points of the liturgy. This first lecture will explore ways that Christian Study Centers can facilitate deeper unity in the word.

“Table Companions”: The Eucharist is an expression of our unity with Jesus and one another, and also a cause of our unity with Jesus and one another. We are one body because we partake of one loaf. The unity at the Lord’s table on the Lord’s day sets the pattern for our daily meals and daily interaction. This lecture will explore the Eucharist as a model of gift-exchange and fellowship in the context of Christian Study Centers.

John Inazu teaches at Washington University in St. Louis, where he is the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion (with a joint appointment in the Law School and the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics). His scholarship focuses on the First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion, and related issues of political and legal theory. His first book, Liberty’s Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly, (Yale University Press, 2012) seeks to recover the role of assembly in American political and constitutional thought. His second book, Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2016. Professor Inazu’s articles have appeared in a number of law reviews and specialty journals, and he has written broadly for mainstream audiences in publications including USA TodayCNN, the Hedgehog Review, and the Washington Post.

Inazu will speak on the topic of “confident pluralism” as it relates to the university in America. He describes his address this way: “This discussion will explore how the aspirations of tolerance, humility, and patience intersect with the university’s efforts to bridge difference and pursue knowledge.” For a window into the topic, look here at his brief essay in The Hedgehog Review.

Chris Armstrong is a church historian (Duke PhD in American Christian History) who taught from 2004 to 2013 at Bethel Seminary, St Paul, MN. At Bethel, Chris founded and directed an initiative on faith, work, and economics called Work with Purpose. In 2014, Chris came to Wheaton College to found and direct Opus: The Art of Work, an externally funded institute on faith and vocation. Chris was drawn to church history because he wanted to know how Christians have lived out their understandings of God, humanity, and the world; the same impulse drives his current research on faith, vocation, and human flourishing to see how theology is lived out. He has written Patron Saints for Postmoderns (InterVarsity Press, 2009), and his most recent book Medieval Wisdom for Modern Christians: Finding Authentic Faith in a Forgotten Age with C S Lewis (Brazos, 2016) finds in medieval Christian tradition some very “earthy” helps to living well in our natural, social, and cultural worlds.

Armstrong’s address is entitled “Reconnecting Vocation to Christian Faith and Spirituality”. He describes it like this: “Our Western cultural narrative on ‘vocation’ or ‘calling’ (where we even still use these words) focuses on personal choice, following your passion, and finding fit and fulfillment. This is more Disney than Christian. In the historic Christian understanding, although choice plays a role in the jobs and careers we pursue, the deeper callings we find within those contexts are ultimately given, not chosen. And though we can find fulfillment in our vocations, we are called for others, not for ourselves.

Given these truths, what would it look like to initiate our students into a ‘spirituality of vocation?’ What understandings and practices can begin to form their hearts and guide their actions toward vocation as God intends it? How can we help them prepare to experience their future workplaces as arenas of discipleship and mission in service of a higher calling?”


~ Our Schedule ~


Monday, July 24

1:30-5:00 Plenary Session – Phelps Room (Todd M. Beamer Center)

1:30-2:45  Welcome and Introductions

2:45-3:10  Break

3:10-4:00  Workshops 1 – Three Options (Repeated Tuesday)

4:00-5:00  Chris Armstrong: Vocation as Spiritual Formation

5:00-6:00  Dinner – Anderson Commons (Todd M. Beamer Center)

7:15-9:00 Plenary Session – Phelps Room (Todd M. Beamer Center)

           Peter Leithart Lecture #1: Unity in the Word


Tuesday, July 25

7:00-7:30  Devotions & Prayer

7:30-8:30  Breakfast – Anderson Commons (Todd M. Beamer Center)

9:00-12:00  Plenary Session – Phelps Room (Todd M. Beamer Center)

          9:00-10:30  Peter Leithart Lecture #2: Table Companions

          10:30-11:00  Break

          11:00-12:00  Workshops 2 – Three Options (Same as Monday)

12:30-1:30  Lunch – Anderson Commons (Todd M. Beamer Center)

2:00 and 3:00 – Marion E. Wade Center Tours (Optional)

1:30-6:30  Free Time

5:00-6:00  Dinner – Anderson Commons (Todd M. Beamer Center)

6:30-7:00  Group Photo (location tbd)

7:00-8:30  Plenary Session – Phelps Room (Todd M. Beamer Center)

            John Inazu Lecture: Confident Pluralism and the University


Wednesday, July 26

7:00-7:30  Devotions & Prayer

7:30-8:30  Breakfast – Anderson Commons (Todd M. Beamer Center)

9:00-11:45  Plenary Session – Phelps Room (Todd M. Beamer Center)

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Registration ends June 15, 2017.  Registration fee includes 5 meals, lodging and conference fees.  Click HERE to register.

The registration fee is significantly lower this year. That is due in part to the dorm-like rooms we will be occupying. They are very nicely outfitted, but each double occupancy room shares a bathroom with another double occupancy room. We simply wanted you to know this. If you have any questions, call us.

COUPLES – If you are bringing your spouse, please contact us at 434-296-3333 for information about a variety of registration options.

Registration Fee

**This meeting is not a function of Wheaton College**