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9 Reasons to Attend the 2013 Duke Summer Institute

April 8, 2013
John Perkins teaching at Summer Institute

John Perkins teaching at Summer Institute

Part of what has driven me as director of the Center for Reconciliation for 8 years is knowing so many friends across the U.S. and world trying to do the difficult work of pursuing God’s reconciliation, peace, and justice, and how we at Duke Divinity School could nourish these leaders and their organizations.  One of my greatest joys has been seeing our annual Summer Institute become a one-of-a-kind space for that.

The deadline to apply to the May 27-June 1 Duke Summer Reconciliation Institute is April 30.  Spaces are still available, as well as significant scholarship funding.

I know this is a big decision in terms of time and funds.  Here are 9 reasons to consider coming by yourself, or with a small team, and also encouraging others to come:

#1:  World-class content, with faculty offering the best in teaching in theology and practice.  What we call the “Word made flesh” methodology, grounded in a Scriptural imagination.

#2:  A learning community that is inter-confessional, Protestant and Catholic, multi-ethnic, global, and centered in Christ.  The institute is a space where strangers become companions, where we learn to worship as one and live more deeply into God’s “new we.”  About 500 people from 25 countries and 35 states have attended the Institute, from pastors of many denominations, to grassroots practitioners, to organizational leaders from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, The United Methodist Church, Reformed Church of American, Creation Care Study Program, Hope College, the Evangelical Covenant Church, World Vision, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and many others.

#3:  Yes it’s a big time commitment, but it has proven to be well worth it for busy leaders.  Deep change requires enough days for freshness to penetrate hearts, minds, and paradigms.  In the restful setting of Duke University, the Summer Institute is an absolutely unique design you won’t find anywhere else:  five days to open personally and missionally to the fresh breath of the Holy Spirit and in-depth teaching and learning designed for Christian leaders to go to a new level in your call and ministry.  Days begin and end with worship, move into a morning “common journey” of teaching and learning, and every participant is in one in-depth seminar the entire 5 days.

#4:  Yes cost is an issue for many, but many scholarships are available.  Please apply for one.

#5:  Grant funding for the Christianity & Islam seminar allows us to provide scholarships ranging from a $350 discount to $950 (full registration).  Depending on financial need, travel and lodging assistance may also be available for this seminar.

#6:  Other in-depth afternoon seminars range from academic institutions to congregations to introduction to reconciliation – see full list on web site.  For the first time we are offering a seminar to engage differences over human sexuality.

#7:  “Christian-conference-publishing-celebrity industrial complex”:  I read that phrase in Christianity Today this morning.  That is exactly not what the Duke Summer Reconciliation Institute is!

#8:  Many organizations have sent teams of 2-5 people.  This might be just the kind of catalyst you and your colleagues are looking for – fresh paradigms and approaches.

#9:  If the institute influenced excellent organizations like InterVarsity and Hope College, it could change yours:

“As a senior leader in a Christian organization that is committed to ethnic reconciliation and justice, I was energized by the biblical teaching and theological reflection, enriched by the diversity of the participants and experienced faculty, and inspired to continue the journey as we celebrated the wonders of reconciliation and lamented the deep places of pain and division in our world. I highly recommend the Summer Institute for leaders who are in search of biblical instruction, relationship-building with experienced practitioners, and personal renewal.” Paula Fuller, Vice President and Director of Multiethnic Ministries, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

“Hope College’s time at the Summer Institute helped us understand that we have an individual and corporate calling to work hard in reconciling ourselves with the ‘other.’ It was hard work that brought us to our knees but lifted us in hope of living together in understanding and love. The time together allowed us to identify cultural barriers, deeper theological understandings, and how we can journey forward. In one word it was transformative.”  — Richard Frost, Vice President of Student Development and Dean of Students at Hope College

See the Duke Summer Institute web site for more information.  It may be exactly what you or your organization needs right now.

P.S.  Did I mention there is significant scholarship funding?  Yes, I mean it.

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