Gordon in the News: last updated 10/18/2012

New Center for Faith and Inquiry Brings Together Christian Scholarship Initiatives

October 1, 2012

Media Contact
Jo Kadlecek, Senior Writer

WENHAM, MA—With the ongoing mission of fostering top-level scholarship in a uniquely Christian context, Gordon College has launched a new Center for Faith and Inquiry. In an effort to better streamline three longstanding initiatives at the College, i.e., the Center for Christian Studies, the Faith Seeking Understanding (FSU) lecture series, and the Jerusalem and Athens Forum (JAF) honors program, the Center for Faith and Inquiry now builds on the strengths and mission of each.

"This is an exciting way to continue the good work of excellence Gordon has achieved in Christian learning, bringing the best of each program under one organization and especially benefitting from our founding institution, the Center for Christian Studies," said Professor Thomas Albert (Tal) Howard, Stephens Phillips Chair of history and the founding director of the JAF honors program, who will direct the Center for Faith and Inquiry.

Founded in 1994, The Center for Christian Studies (CCS) began under the leadership of former Provost Stan Gaede, who is now senior scholar in residence at Gordon, and Harold Heie, the Center’s first director. Heie remains a senior fellow at the new Center for Faith and Inquiry. Its purpose was to build on Gordon’s commitment to top scholarship by organizing and hosting a wide variety of conferences, guest lectures and symposia.

In addition to overseeing the functions of the CCS as well as Gordon’s annual student-led Spring Symposium, the Center for Faith and Inquiry will host panelists, visiting scholars and guest lecturers through its FSU and Respectful Conversations initiatives while also facilitating various conferences and Oxford-style debates. It will continue to deepen the combined support of faculty scholarship by administering various discussion groups, grant writing initiatives, and other academic-related projects.

“I am especially eager for the new Center for Faith and Inquiry to foster conversations across disciplines, to help raise the level and quality of scholarship at Gordon, and to promote more interaction between the Christian academy and the ‘mainstream’ academy,” Howard said. “It’s important that we invite dialogue between the academy and the church while encouraging our students who feel called to academic and professional vocations to consider serious ecumenical reflection.”

The Center for Faith and Inquiry, according to its new mission statement, is dedicated to promoting “first-order scholarship, reflection, creativity, and conversation, drawing from Christian intellectual and spiritual traditions, the various academic disciplines, and the wisdom found in societies and cultures at large.” The Center for Faith and Inquiry has also launched a new web site, which can be accessed at http://www.gordon/cfi, and developed a new logo comprised of three interlocking triangles, an ancient symbol of the Trinity and one of orthodox Christianity’s central doctrines.

“The insights and ideas derived from this new Center,” Howard said, “really do aim to serve Gordon College, the Body of Christ, and the common good. It provides our students and our broader community an opportunity to nurture a shared life of the mind.”

For more information on the Center for Faith and Inquiry, contact or visit http://www.gordon/cfi.


Gordon College is one of the nation's premier Christian colleges and located just north of Boston. Gordon offers students extraordinary access to leading-edge opportunities for intellectual, professional, and leadership development to address the increasingly complex challenges of a global society, and stands apart from other outstanding institutions in New England by combining an exceptional education with an informed Christian faith.


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