2018 Vocation Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Consortium of Christian Study Centers (CCSC) was proud to sponsor a Scholarship Project in the summer of 2018 from July 1-14 at Regent College (RC) in Vancouver, British Columbia, which provided scholarship money to member study center students and other qualified applicants to supply two weeks’ full audit tuition (one “one audit” course per week), a food stipend and lodging at Regent College’s famous Summer School. The recipients also participated in two discussion meetings per week on the subject of vocation with the Consortium’s Executive Director, Drew Trotter, and took part in a number of other group opportunities, such as a Bard on the Beach presentation of As You Like It, and hikes up Quarry Rock and in lovely Lynn Valley in the spectacular forests surrounding Vancouver.

Examples of classes taken by Project students this year are: Mental Health & the Church, with Dr. Richard Winter; Modern Technology: Master or Servant, with Dr. David Gill & Al Erisman; Archaeological Discoveries and the Bible, with Dr. Phil Long; John’s Gospel: The Life of God to the World, with Dr. Rikk Watts; Walking with God: Puritan Practices & Spirituality, with Dr. Tom Schwanda; Covenants of the Old Testament, with Dr. Carol Kaminski; Global Religions in Contemporary Literature & Film, with Dr. Everett Hamner.

Project members also participated in a number of group meals, panel discussions with Susan Philips, Steve Garber, Jeff Greenman, and other Regent lectures and discussions, including a lecture entitled The Movies and America by Dr. Trotter. Ad hoc conversations with other Regent students, faculty, and summer faculty rounded out two weeks of constant opportunity to think through issues surrounding their individual and corporate callings in an environment that is simultaneously as restful and stimulating as possible.

At the end of their time, the scholarship students wrote essays evaluating the program. Past essays are uniformly positive in their praise of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is a given that the classes at Regent College are some of the best one can find in the world for delving into a Biblical view of life and thought, and students regularly praise the courses they take there.

What is surprising for many is how engaging the other parts of the Scholarship Project are. One participant, a graduate student in English literature wrote: “My experience as a participant in the CCSC Scholarship Project was richer and fuller than I ever expected. First, the scholarship significantly eased the financial cost of taking courses at Regent, courses that allowed me to read and discuss novels and poetry at a high academic level among fellow believers, a rare gift of an opportunity. Within that environment, the Project was a microclimate that flourished at the intersection of the intellectual, spiritual, and communal. Drew and Marie [Trotter, the mentors of the Project] fostered the group’s bond through meetings, hikes, outings, and shared meals, and our relationships spilled over from these more formally organized events into our own time. In the short span of two weeks, the conversations I had with my fellow participants were deep, wide-ranging, provocative, and stimulating. That time shimmered even as I was in it. The grace of it all was apparent, I believe, to all of us there.”

An undergraduate at the University of Virginia summarized her time this way: “The greatest challenge in reflecting upon my time with the CCSC project is articulating the depth of gratitude and transformation I feel in the wake of my experience…Outside of the classroom, I learned nearly as much in the conversations which unfolded with fellow students in the margins of class time, over coffee breaks, around the chapel, and especially doing life with the other cohort members. With so many different perspectives, each conversation was rich with complexity and insights of Truth which I never would have arrived at alone. It was a humbling reminder of the gracious gift community is and how vital personal formation within community is to a life of faith.”

Another recent graduate, headed to graduate school, had this to say: “Personally, I had never experienced Christian fellowship where community and intellectual life weaved seamlessly into each other with such ease and mutual affection. Hikes and meals punctuated conversations about Western philosophy and theology, Christianity and capitalism, race and evangelicalism, and much, much more. I had never been a part of a community of believers in this way, where intellectual acuity could give way to candid uncertainty and heady conversation could end in laughter.”

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