STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 12/06/2012

Great Conversations: New Center Launches

By Jo Kadlecek

CFI House

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. The CFI builds on the strengths and mission of three longstanding initiatives at the College: the Center for Christian Studies, the Faith Seeking Understanding (FSU) lecture series, and the Jerusalem and Athens Forum (JAF) honors program (see related story about the JAF essay contest).

Like the Center for Christian Studies (1994 through 2012), the Center for Faith and Inquiry will organize and host a wide variety of conferences, Oxford-style debates, guest lectures and symposia, reflecting Gordon’s commitment to respectful conversation among those with different points of view. The Center also will deepen support of faculty by administering discussion groups, grant-writing initiatives and other academically oriented 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,” said Professor Thomas Albert (Tal) Howard, who will direct the CFI. He is the Stephen Phillips Chair of History and the founding director of the Jerusalem and Athens Forum.

The broad spectrum of topics that CFI-sponsored speakers will address on the Gordon campus during this academic year will include women and Islam, end-of-life issues, religious freedom in the wake of the Arab Spring, and the poignant life of 19th century Boston Brahmin photographer Clover Adams.

“The insights and ideas derived from this new Center,” Howard said, “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.”

The Center for Faith and Inquiry’s new website can be accessed at Its logo comprises three interlocking triangles, an ancient symbol of the Trinity, one of orthodox Christianity’s central doctrines.

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