Retreat on Christian Thought

General Information

Carolina and Duke’s new journals of Christian thought, To The Well and Crux, are hosting a retreat at UNC on August 31st and September 1st at the NC Study Center (203 Battle Lane, Chapel Hill, NC). The goal of this retreat will be to discuss issues relevant to thinking critically and engaging in intellectual discourse at Duke and UNC as Christians. We’ll also spend time reflecting on and praying over the goals, strategies, and activities of Crux and To the Well. Food and coffee will be provided. Please register by August 24th using this link.

Please consider bringing $10 as an optional donation to help pay for food. We don’t want money to be a hindrance that keeps anyone from coming to the event, but a small donation to cover food expenses would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Duke students, please fill out this form to arrange for carpooling to and from UNC.

Contact Brian Grasso (, Parker Marshall, (, or Edward Dixon ( with questions.

See below for readings, topics, schedules, and speaker bios. We look forward to seeing you there!

Pre Readings

“The Watchmen: What Became of Christian Intellectuals?” by Alan Jacobs

“What Became of Christian Intellectuals? There’s More to the Story.” by Al Mohler

The Decline of The Secular University (pages 3-15) by John Sommerville

One Difference Between Me and Sparrows by Elisabeth Elliot


Friday, August 31st
5:00pm: Arrive and Welcome
6:00pm: Dinner
7:00pm: Session 1 – Dr. John Sommerville, Author of Decline of the Secular University, Becoming Christian Intellectuals: For the Flourishing of the Secular University
9:00pm: Adjourn

Saturday, September 1st
9:00am: Morning Prayer & Devotional
9:30am: Session 2 – Dr. Andy Davis, Pastor at First Baptist Church of Durham, The Public Gospel: Being the Church in the University
11:00am: Coffee Break
11:15am: Session 3 – John and Janet Hawkins, Founders of Leadership EdgeThe Importance of Personal Piety For Public Voices
12:30pm: Lunch
1:30pm: Session 4 – Dr. Amber Diaz Pearson, Research Scholar at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, How to Make an Argument from a Christian Perspective
2:30pm: Coffee Break
2:45pm: Session 5 – Steve Hinkle, Intervarsity Area Director of Graduate and Faculty Ministries, Responding with Love
4:15pm: Final plenary conversation
5:00pm: All are invited to go out for dinner in Chapel Hill. Location TBD. Dinner will be at your own expense.

Speaker Bios

SommervilleJohn Sommerville is the author of a number of books including The Decline of the Secular University (2006), Religion in the National Agenda (2009), and Religious Ideas for Secular Universities (2009). He is Professor Emeritus of English History at the University of Florida, but his interests have also included the history of the media (How the News Makes Us Dumb, 1999) and of attitudes toward children (The Rise and Fall of Childhood, 1990). His writing covers a wide variety of topics. After doing graduate work at the University of Iowa, Sommerville began his teaching in the Western Civilization program at Stanford University, before moving to a permanent position at the University of Florida. A Member of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton and Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions, he also recently contributed to the Pew Younger Scholars’ Mentoring Program.

DavisDr. Andy Davis was born in Boston, Massachusetts where he later earned his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 1984. He then began his career as a Mechanical Engineer with Eaton-Nova Corporation in Beverly, Massachusetts. He was married to Christine Lee Rogers on May 14, 1988, and they have two sons and three daughters.  Dr. Davis started his seminary training while working as an engineer and earned his Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1990. In 1992, Dr. Davis resigned from his engineering position to pastor the New Meadows Baptist Church in Topsfield, Massachusetts. In 1994, the Davis family followed the call of the Lord to Tokushima, Japan, where they were involved in church planting through the International Mission Board. In 1998, Dr. Davis graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, with a Ph.D. in Church History.  In October of 1998, Dr. Davis accepted a call to be the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church, Durham, NC.

HawkinsSince founding Leadership Edge, Inc in 1993, John Hawkins has helped university students, young professionals and organizational leaders across America wrestle with the issue of developing a leadership lifestyle. John believes that this is essential for effective, long-term leadership of today’s complex organizations and corporations.

John earned degrees from Wake Forest University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His professional development includes completion of the Master Class for Leadership Educators at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He has been published in numerous journals and publications including: Executive Excellence, Personal Excellence, The New York Times, Bottom Line Business, Student Leader Magazine, The Journal of the Service Industry Association and The Journal of Leadership and Management in Engineering. John’s book Leadership As A Lifestyle: The Path to Personal Integrity and Positive Influence was published in October 2001 by Executive Excellence Publishing.

More important than any of the above, John has been married to his wife Janet for over 40 years, the father of Laura, Gary and Will, and “Papa” to Shelby, Barrett and Sadie. It has been in their family that John has learned the most practical lessons on leadership.

Hawkins2After serving as a volunteer with Leadership Edge since its founding in 1993, Janet Hawkins joined the staff team at Leadership Edge in December 2012.  She had worked the previous 13 years as a Technical Project Manager and Systems Analyst at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

As Women’s Services Coordinator, Janet is responsible to oversee program development and expansion of Women’s Services at all LEI city and campus sites. Janet serves as a mentor as well as trains and supports other women to mentor. She also serves as Data Manager to oversee the development and use of data systems.

Janet has a BA degree from UNC Chapel Hill and holds a Masters in Religious Education from Southwestern Seminary. She is a certified Project Manager Professional (PMP.) She and John have been married for over 40 years. In addition to LEI, she loves to travel to see their three adult children and grandchildren.

PearsonAmber Díaz Pearson is a Research Scholar at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. She works on research and programming with the Rethinking Regulation Program and the Religions and Public Life Initiative at Kenan, conducts survey research and analysis for the Education for Civic and Moral Responsibility project, and coordinates the Kenan Practitioner in Residence program. Most recently, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Human Rights at Kenan where she taught international law and refugee policy for DukeImmerse: Uprooted/Rerouted, served as the DukeImmerse Field Director in Nepal, coordinated the Ethics Film Series, and worked with the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. Her research interests include international ethics, public opinion, and experimental, qualitative, and multimethod research tools. Amber holds a B.S. in Political Science and a B.A. in Spanish from Arizona State University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University.

HinkleSteve Hinkle has worked with InterVarsity for 33 years, the last 25 have been at Duke University as Graduate and Faculty Ministry (GFM) staff. He also served as the Area Director for InterVarsity’s Graduate and Faculty Ministries in Blue Ridge, supervising GFM staff serving at UNC, Virginia Tech, Duke, and NC State and developing long-term vision and plans for the expansion of GFM work across North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. He came to Duke after finishing an MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has been on religious life staff at Duke since 1990. When he is not working or spending time with his wife, Christi, you will often find him on a bike.

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