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Lux Summer Theological Institute attracts high school students from 'north and south, and east and west'

Duane Bonifer
With a little more than two months left until its start, the inaugural class of Monmouth College’s Lux Summer Theological Institute for Youth is shaping up to be a diverse and dynamic group of young people from around the country.

“Students are coming from North and South, and East and West,” said Monmouth Associate Chaplain Rev. Jessica Hawkinson, who will direct the institute. “A common thread that has emerged across students we have accepted so far is a curiosity about how their faith has an impact on the world.”

Monmouth’s Lux Summer Theological Institute for Youth will bring together high school students from July 16-30 to explore “Feast or Famine: Thinking Theologically about Food and Food Security.” Rising high school sophomores through graduating high school seniors are eligible for the program. Because of a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis, the institute is free to participants.

The deadline to apply for the institute is June 1.

“Because of national interest in the program, we decided to extend the deadline,” Hawkinson said. “It’s not too late to apply to study alongside some wonderfully faithful and talented young people.”

Hawkinson said the culturally and geographically diverse group of students comes from both urban and rural communities in such states as California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, Texas and Washington.

“We are excited to have students from all over the country,” Hawkinson said. “They will bring unique perspectives based on their experiences in their local communities.”

Hawkinson said that students look forward to meeting peers who are interested in theology and the way it intersects real-world problems.

“For a couple of them, they are the only youth in their congregation, so this is a way to expand on the opportunities their home congregation provides for them,” she said. “We look forward to sending them back to their home congregations as inspired and well-equipped leaders.”

The Lux Summer Theological Institute for Youth’s ecumenical experience is designed to nurture and equip students to become servant leaders who are spiritually enlightened, globally engaged, socially responsible and vocationally driven.

The institute’s daily schedule is formed around morning and evening worship; intellectually challenging classes in which students are immersed in the study of scripture and Christian theology; opportunities to learn from people of different religious traditions; service in the community; field trips; and recreational events. Students will meet daily in two one-hour classes to focus on “ethics and practice” and “theology and scripture.”