"Witness in the Academy"
The Seventh Annual New England Conference
for Christian Graduate Students and Faculty
will take place on the weekend of February 7-9, 1997. (Friday evening
through early Sunday afternoon; at Pilgrim Pines Conference Center in
southern New Hampshire.)
The main speaker this year will be Professor Richard Baer.
The topic is "Witness in the Academy."
There will also be a time for "contributed talks" by any conference
attendee who would like to present one. (Information about these talks,
including how to submit an abstract, is at the end of this letter.)
What does effective witness look like in a relativistic,
pluralistic, postmodern environment?
How do we, as Christians, make the gospel visible at the University?
How can we proclaim a relevant gospel to the University?
How do we affirm a gospel that speaks to the whole person?
These sorts of questions will be the main focus of this year's
conference. Professor Baer** will share his insights and experience.
This conference, sponsored by InterVarsity and the Yale, Harvard, and
MIT Graduate Student Christian Fellowships, is an opportunity to retreat
from your regular studies, to consider how your Christian faith should
influence your studies, and to consider how you, as a Christian, can
influence your profession.
In addition to the plenary sessions with Professor Baer, there will be
several workshops, a panel discussion with area faculty members, and
times of praise and worship throughout the weekend, including a worship
service on Sunday morning. There will be many opportunities to meet and
talk with other Christian graduate students and faculty from all over
Most of Saturday afternoon will be free, providing a chance to play
ping-pong or foos ball, hike, ice skate, or cross-country ski (skates
and skis can be rented at the conference grounds), stay indoors by the
fireplace and talk or play games, nap, or join the traditional game of
broom ball on the frozen lake.
We hope that this conference will help every participant make new
friends, refresh your mind and spirit, and help you to seriously
consider how your Christian faith can influence your work.
If you would like to receive a registration brochure, contact Paula
Castner at (617) 729-2550.
If you have other questions about the conference, contact Lou Soiles
**Richard Baer has been a Professor of Environmental Ethics in the
Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University since 1974. He
has a Ph.D. from Harvard University in History and Philosophy of
Religion and a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological
Seminary. He is a fellow of the Center for Public Justice in Washington
D.C. and author of a book on Philo of Alexandria, as well as numerous
book chapters and journal articles on environmental ethics, religion and
education, and religion and public life. Before going to Cornell
University, he taught for 12 years at Earlham College in Indiana, where
he was chairman of the Religion Department. He is the 1994 recipient of
the Professor of Merit Award for outstanding teaching and student
advising. His most recent work has focused on the place of religion in
public life, particularly in education.
Call for Contributed Papers
This year we will have several sessions of "Contributed Talks" by you,
the conference attendees.
WHO: Any conference attendee who wishes to contribute a talk.
(This is not a requirement to attend, but we hope that
many of you will volunteer.)
WHAT: A 25-minute talk (including Q&A time) on a topic which interests
you, relating your Christian faith to your academic studies,
life in academia, or society in general.
WHEN: Saturday morning of the conference, February 8.
WHERE: Organized by topic into parallel sessions.
WHY: This is a great opportunity to do a little "integrating your faith
with your academic studies."
If you have recently published an article, or written something you
want to publish, here's a chance to present it to some fellow Christian
scholars for feedback. If you have contributed anything to an
electronic discussion group on a relevant topic, here's a chance to
share it with another audience. If you recently read a good book or
article and would like to share and discuss some of its ideas, simply
prepare a short talk (as little as ten-minutes will suffice --- that's
not very much work!) and open the floor for questions and comments.
If you've been *meaning* to read a book or think about a topic, but
haven't found the time, here's a chance to motivate yourself to get it
done! (Christmas break!)
Most of you, at some time in the future, will be called upon to
write or speak on topics relating your Christian faith to your area of
expertise. Here is an opportunity to practice those skills with a
friendly, but challenging, audience.
HOW: You can start by simply sending me e-mail saying,
"I want to do this!"
Eventually, I will ask every contributor to submit a title and a
50-100 word abstract, by mid-January.
If you have any questions or would like to talk about style,
topic, or content, feel free to contact me.