I have just returned from a road trip that took me to the Lilly Endowment in Indianapolis, Anderson University and School of Theology in Anderson, Indiana, Earlham College and Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Indiana, and United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
It was a wonderful, productive trip and I will report on it in a series of articles; but first here is the news about the preaching camp at Richmond.
The camp is scheduled for June 13-18. Housing and meals will be in the Quaker Hill Conference Center near the campus of Earlham College. Earlham College has a long and honored connection with the Quaker communities in the United States. It was the home base of the influential writer and theologian Elton Trueblood and more recently the institutional home of Richard Foster.
Quakerism was at the forefront of the abolition movement a century and a half ago; Earlham and vicinity were important stops on the Underground Railroad. So part of our mid-week excursion during the preaching camp will be to visit the Underground Railroad reenactment center called "Follow the North Star."
Official host of the camp is Bethany Seminary, a school of the Church of the Brethren. Daniel Rudy is one of their second year students; he preached at the inaugural Festival of Young Preachers this past January and was later accepted onto the 2010 Young Preacher Leadership Team.
The daily preaching will be in the chapel of the seminary; and I will post some video of that chapel and the seminary on our Facebook page. All the Dogwood trees were in spectacular bloom this week and the sun was bright and warm. The campus is beautiful and the facilities are perfect. Adjacent to Bethany is the Earlham School of Religion whose staff and facilities are also available if needed.
Two Bethany students, Katie and Parker Thompson, will serve as our Camp Coordinators, arranging our field trip, planning the worship services, and managing the registration table. Like Daniel Rudy, they are from Pennsylvania. Katie and Parker will also participate in the camp as young preachers.
We have other young preachers coming from Atlanta, Indianapolis, Chicago, and perhaps Cincinnati and elsewhere. Registration is still open for the Richmond camp and registration forms can be found elsewhere on this web site. Cost is only $200 for the week. Richmond, Indiana is one hour west of Dayton, Ohio along Interstate 70.
I was 15 years old when I walked the aisle of a Baptist church and announced my call to the gospel ministry. Today on my 60th birthday I celebrate 45 years of gospel work.
After serving as a young minister, pastor (in three churches), dean of the chapel on a college campus, and guest preacher for many congregations I have the rare and wonderful pleasure of launching and leading the Academy of Preachers. I spend my days now working with young people of all Christian traditions toward their ambition as preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What possibly could be a better way to celebrate my 60th birthday?
I am in Nashville meeting with officials of Belmont University preparing for our first preaching camp this summer, May 23-28. Later this week I will be in Atlanta visiting Morehouse College and preparing for the preaching camp in Atlanta June 6-11.
My son Ike is with me, and when we leave Atlanta we will drive to Birmingham, then Memphis and Paducah, before returning home to Lexington and Louisville. Only the presence of Sam, his son and my grandson, would make it a more pleasant trip. We stopped at the Book Store in Horse Cave, Kentucky and bought 10 used books for Sam, including Curious George.
Even in the delight of this day, I remember my good friend and colleague in gospel work Philip Wise, who died one year ago today, at the age of 60. Earlier this month a group of his friends, including me, published a book of essays in his honor: For Faith and Friendship.
Tomorrow morning I will go to morning prayers at Christ Church Cathedral, just around the corner from our hotel in downtown Nashville. A blessed Holy Week to all of you.
During the last week 3 new Founding Partners have helped push the network if the Academy of Preachers to a national audience.
From Birmingham, Atlanta, and Boston we welcome 3 new organizations that wish to join us in our mission to "identify, network, inspire and support young people who aspire to vocations as gospel preachers."
First, from Atlanta: The Fund for Theological Education provides programs and financing for young people pursuing ministry and theological education. It is largely funded by the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis, as is the Academy of Preachers. Fund president Trace Haythorn wrote in his letter: "We see a great deal of synchronicity in our work and hope to work with you as we strive to identify the next generation of leaders for the church and theological education."
From Birmingham, Alabama comes a letter of endorsement from Passport Camps, Inc. This relatively new organization runs summer camps for children and young people all over the country. They have a need for young preachers every year for their camps. Founders David and Coleen Burroughs are long time friends of mine.
Finally, I was in Orlando, Florida with the Board of the Lord's Day Alliance when they voted unanimously to endorse the Academy and to provide significant funding for the 2011 National Festival of Young Preachers. Their interests in the 4th commandment ("Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.") is one of the preaching texts for the National Festival, scheduled for January 6-8, 2011, in Louisville, Kentucky. The administrative center for this century old Alliance is in Boston, in conjunction with the Boston Theological Institute.
This brings our list of Founding Partners to 44. Our goal is 50 before March 15. Elsewhere on this web site is more information about how to BE A PARTNER. Included there is a list of all of our partners.