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IS Conference

Does the Church Matter?

Navigating Divisions 1517 - 2017


Fall 2017 Interdisciplinary Studies Conference
Free public conference: September 20 - 21

With growing chasms in the politics of left and right, fundamental disagreements in how we read and interpret scripture, and uncertainty about the relevance of religious faith for the problems of today’s world, many young people are asking: Does the church matter?

This conference will explore the state of the church today—the challenges of navigating a hyperpluralistic world, the things in the church that might need reforming, and the role young adults have in shaping the future of our common life. Then will step back and ask “how did we get here?” looking at the legacy that began 500 years ago with the Protestant Reformation in 1517, with questions that sound remarkably like the ones we are still asking today:  

  • How do we relate hospitably to those who hold different beliefs?
  • How is religious identity connected to political power?
  • Where do we look for answers those key Life Questions in the absence of a unified religious narrative?

The events of 1517 have shaped the world as we know it today in the areas of philosophy, economics, politics, education, science, and more. Whether or not we come from a religious perspective, we live with the results of that watershed event. The conference will end by considering the way forward, the role that “convicted civility” and institutions like King’s might play in shaping the future of faith in a divided world.                                   

Keynote Speakers

The Rt Rev. Jane Alexander, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton
Dr. Richard Mouw, President Emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary
Dr. Brad Gregory, Dorothy G. Griffin Professor of Early Modern European History at the University of Notre Dame


Conference Information
The conference runs Wednesday, September 20 and Thursday, September 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day (beginning in the gym), with breakout sessions from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. A more detailed schedule will be available at the welcome table.

There will be a public lecture with Dr. Richard Mouw on Wednesday, September 20 at 7 p.m.

The entire event is free, and members of the public are welcome to attend. There is no need to register or notify us in advance—simply show up and we will be happy to have you!

King’s students should check-in at the table outside the cafeteria on Tuesday, September 19 between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., or outside the gym on Wednesday, September 20 by 8:45 a.m. at the latest to receive their program and conference information.

We would like to extend particular thanks to those who have helped in the planning of this event, including Julien Hammond, Ecumenical Officer of the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton, and Faith Nostbakken, Northern Ecumenical Officer of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada Synod of Alberta and the Territories. We would also like to thank the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton for co-sponsoring Brad Gregory’s travel for this event.