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Whitworth Institute of Ministry, July 8-12, to feature nationally-recognized theologians

May 30, 2013

Dr. Carolyn Gordon
The Whitworth Institute of Ministry will present its 38th annual program for pastors and their families July 8-12. This year’s theme, “For Such a Time as This: Ancient Christian Wisdom for Postmodern Times,” will focus on current transitions in the life of the church. WIM will take place on the Whitworth campus and will feature speakers James K.A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College (Mich.); Carolyn Gordon, associate professor of communication in the School of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary (Calf.); and Whitworth theology professors Jerry Sittser, Karen Petersen Finch and James Edwards, ’67.

The public is invited to attend the institute’s worship services Monday-Thursday at 7 p.m. in Seeley Mudd Chapel. Admission to the services is free. Pre-registration and payment are required for those who wish to participate in other WIM programming, including Bible hours, convocation hour, and afternoon workshops. For complete WIM details, a schedule of events, and to register, please visit, call (509) 777-4345, or e-mail

Following the conclusion of WIM, podcasts of select presentations will be available at “These speakers will work with us to renew the rhythms, practices and disciplines of the church in helping Christians remain faithful to Christ and each other through even the most uncertain periods,” says Dean of Spiritual Life and WIM Director Terry McGonigal. “We invite pastors and their families to join us as we renew and refresh our minds, hearts, bodies and imaginations through the gospel.”

Smith is the author and co-author of more than 16 books and numerous articles. During WIM he will talk from his “Cultural Liturgies” project, a trilogy of books that begins with Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (2009). The second book, Imagining the Kingdom, was published in February 2013. Smith has recently begun work on the third book.

Dr. James K.A. Smith
“I want to help pastors think about cultural discernment in a new way, helping their congregations to think about spiritual formation in terms of liturgical formation,” Smith says. “This includes recognizing that some cultural practices are actually rival liturgies, but also seeing Christian worship anew as the center of Christian discipleship.”

Gordon is a regular lecturer at church-related conventions and conferences. She has received numerous honors and awards, including Outstanding Black Alumni (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2004), Outstanding Baptist Chaplain Recognition (1997, 1998), Most Supportive Faculty (Black Image Award, 1992), Woman of Color of the Year (1990), and Outstanding Young Woman of America (1983-88). Her research interests include communication theology: what God intended for the spoken word; preaching to senior adults; preaching to those with disabilities; and vocal development and the maintenance of the preaching voice.

Edwards, Petersen Finch, and Sittser will speak on three sections from Luke; each section depicts a person’s encounter with Jesus who calls each person to faith and obedience. Sittser says that the people in these passages experience difficulty or express some kind of resistance along the way, but Jesus breaks through the problem and calls them to repentance and faith. “He does the same to us,” Sittser says. “We are hoping in our exposition and exploration of these stories to see how we resist Jesus today, and how Jesus calls us to follow him.”

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Toni Sutherland, program coordinator, chapel, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4345 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or