Fall Convocation Speakers
Guidebook author and travel TV host, Rick Steves, advocates smart, affordable, perspective-broadening travel. In 1976, he started his business, Rick Steves' Europe, which grew from a one-man operation to a company with 100 full-time, well-travelled employees. He produces more than 50 guidebooks on European travel, America's most popular travel series on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, a weekly syndicated column, and free travel information available through his travel center and ricksteves.com. He is an active member of the Lutheran church and has hosted the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's national video productions.
Travel as a Spiritual Act | Monday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. | McFarlin Auditorium
In this provocative slideshow lecture, guidebook author and TV host Rick Steves will share how a lifetime of travels has mixed with his faith, shaped his politics, and broadened his perspective. Drawing from lessons learned while exploring Europe, Central America, Asia, and the Middle East, he will demonstrate how travel expands our worldview and challenges truths we have been raised to think are self-evident and God-given. Exploring the concept of “travel as a spiritual act,” Rick will reflect on how his own social activism has grown from his travels — and how travel can be a transformative experience for all Americans.
Hunger and Hope: Lessons from Guatemala and Ethiopia | Tuesday, November 12, at 9:00 a.m.
Join Rick Steves for a look behind the scenes of his new public television special about hunger, hope, and the impact of smart development aid in the Global South. Building on his talk about travel as a spiritual act, Rick will share lessons learned while traveling this spring with his crew in Guatemala and Ethiopia — how globalization, technological innovations, the empowerment of women, and climate-smart agriculture are coming together to counter what he calls "The Three Cs" (conflict, corruption, and climate change), and are helping the world's 800 million poorest people climb out of extreme poverty.
The Holy Land: The Importance of “Dual Narrative” Travels in Israel and Palestine | Tuesday, November 12, at 2:15 p.m.
In this travel talk, guidebook author and TV host Rick Steves will take us along on his recent trip to Israel and Palestine — sharing the beauty of the Holy Land, his impressions of the lives of ordinary citizens who live there, and the legacies of the region’s long history of conflicts. Against this backdrop, Rick will explore the importance of seeking out “dual narratives” to thorny issues in our travels. Reflecting on the power of thoughtful travel, he will show how keeping an open mind helps you gain empathy for a wide range of people and perspectives — and, in short, helps you learn.
Born a Shiite Muslim, Rev. Dr. Samira Izadi Page, founder and executive director of Gateway of Grace, a ministry to refugees, became a refugee when she and her family had to flee Iran immediately and empty-handed in 1989. Once settled in Dallas, she became a Christian and earned two theological degrees at Perkins School of Theology. She founded Gateway of Grace to mobilize churches (currently more than 50) to adopt refugee families and provide them with job readiness, language, and other training.
Rev. Dr. Page will present a plenary session addressing the question, "What is the mission field in the 21st century?" on November 11, at 2:45 p.m. She will present two workshops on November 12, titled "Reaching Refugees, Changing Lives."
Rev. Dr. Célestin Musekura, a Rwandan from the Hutu tribe, founded ALARM (African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries) in the midst of unspeakable loss and devastation following the 100-day genocide in 1994. ALARM supports more than 50 full-time African staff members who travel the region, training pastors and Christian civic leaders, both men and women; teaching seminars on forgiveness and reconciliation; and providing vocational training so Christians in poor communities can support themselves and their families.
Rev. Dr. Musekura will present a plenary session addressing the question, "What is the mission field in the 21st century?" on November 11, at 4:00 p.m. He will present two workshops on November 12, titled "Reconciliation as the Mission of God."
Internationally acclaimed scholar Jack Levison has the rare gift of connecting with popular audiences. His articles are featured in the Huffington Post, parade.com, relevant.com, and beliefnet.com, as well as a range of scholarly journals, such as the Harvard Theological Review. Jack holds the W. J. A. Power Chair of Old Testament Interpretation and Biblical Hebrew at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. Jack is the author of many books, most recent among them The Holy Spirit Before Christianity (Baylor University Press, 2019).
Dr. Levison will lead morning devotions on Tuesday, November 12, at 8:30 a.m.
IziBongo will showcase a vibrant sampling of the songs and languages of the global church. Named after a genre of South African Zulu praise poetry, IziBongo amplifies the Christian voices of minority people groups through authentic representation of their musical worship forms. The vocal qualities, musical instruments, and playing techniques of other cultures are represented as closely as possible through this troupe of multi-instrumentalists, worship leaders, linguists, lyricists, students of the Word, and instrument collectors.
Oak Strategies is a collective of worship designers, music directors, pastors, AV integrators, and other creatives and practitioners that brings a tailored team approach to helping church leaders, teams, and congregations be postured well for transformational encounters with God week in and week out.
Questions about the event? Call (214) 768-3664.
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