Contests Celebrate 500th Anniversary of Calvin’s Birth
Alma College will observe the 500th anniversary of the birth of John
Calvin with two contests — one for students and the other for
Presbyterian Church clergy — designed to stimulate interest in ways in
which Calvin’s 16th century theology are beneficial to 21st century
Calvin, born July 10, 1509, was a French theologian during the Protestant Reformation and the father of the Christian belief system called “Reformed tradition” or “Calvinism.”
“He is considered the founder of Presbyterianism, and as Alma College is a Presbyterian College, we are acknowledging our founder,” says Alma College Chaplain Carol Gregg. “We hope these contests are creative ways to celebrate not only Calvin but the talented folks who live in his tradition.”
Alma College Sermon Contest
Presbyterian clergy, lay pastors and seminarians from the Synod of the Covenant — a region encompassing approximately 800 churches in Michigan and Ohio — are invited to write and submit a sermon of no more than 2,000 words on some aspect of Calvin’s life and work. The sermon must be preached in a worship service at least once during 2009.
"John Calvin is arguably history's most important Protestant theologian whose influence extends far beyond the Reformed tradition to other Christian denominations and into the secular and political spheres of life,” says Brian Stratton, associate professor of religious studies.
“It is especially appropriate to honor him by encouraging excellence in preaching, for Calvin was renowned in his lifetime for his intelligent and scholarly sermons and played a major role in elevating the proclamation of the Word to the prominence it holds in Protestant worship even today,” he says.
Manuscripts must be submitted by Dec. 31, 2009. Awards for first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) prize will be announced by March 1, 2010.
Contest rules are available online at: http://www.alma.edu/student_life/chaplain/calvinser.
Vocation: Burden or Gift?
Alma College students are invited to reflect on the theology of Calvin, particularly on his writings about vocation or God’s “calling.” The reflections may be expressed through any one of various mediums. Options include, but are not limited to, academic essay, creative writing, visual art, film or music.
“I think most students might be surprised to know just how much John Calvin has influenced American life, in everything from our governmental structures to our ideas about sexuality,” says Kate Blanchard, assistant professor of religious studies.
“Calvin’s view of vocation was the idea that any and every job can be done for the glory of God,” says Blanchard. “In general, Calvin hoped to move people toward greater freedom and joy in their lives, and away from fear and hierarchy. Whether or not he succeeded is still up for debate.”
Prizes will be awarded for first ($500), second ($300) and third ($150) prizes. Winners will be encouraged to present their work at Alma College Honors Day 2010. Entries must be submitted to the Kirk Center office, lower level of the Chapel, by 5 p.m. Nov. 2, 2009.
Contest rules are available online at: http://www.alma.edu/student_life/chaplain/calvinst.
The contests are sponsored by the Alma College Chapel, the Religious Studies Department and the Center for Responsible Leadership.
Posted: Mon, January 12th, 2009 at 8:53AM