The Wiley College Running with the Giants Youth Empowerment Summit began this week on campus with a prayer for peace and a cease to violence in our world. Fifteen high school students from area schools along with faculty and staff who will lead the program began the prayer service by singing, "How Great Is Our God."
The summit is part of Lilly Endowment's High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.
Wiley's Lead Professor of Religion and Program Director for the summer institute, Dr. Solomon Waigwa, said the program grows out of Wiley's commitment to the Christian tradition and the belief that young adults should be given the opportunity to engage ethical and social issues from within that tradition.
"Through its rigorous programs, the institute will inculcate values of social responsibility by engaging students in learning ways in which they can serve as present and future leaders who contribute to the welfare and revitalization of their communities," said Dr. Waigwa.
Wiley College is one of 82 schools participating in the initiative. The schools are located in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Although some schools are independent, many reflect the religious heritage of their founding traditions. These traditions include Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches, as well as Roman Catholic, non-denominational, Pentecostal and historic African-American Christian communities.
Wiley's program is housed at the Haywood L. Strickland Living Learning Center, and as part of the grant, room and board are provided at no cost and there are no fees to attend the program.
While attending the institute students will take courses in theology, Bible, worship, discipleship, ministry, and ethics. The scripture-based curriculum is designed to bolster students' character, enhance their understanding and appreciation for for diversity, nurture spiritual growth and enable them to respond creatively and positively to the challenges that confront today's teenagers.
Students will also explore their call to ministry by completing a social service project and examining various ministry vocations.
The program will run through July 22.
In photo, students taking part in Wiley's two-week Running with the Giants Youth Empowerment Summit are pictured in the Haywood L. Strickland Living Learning Center praying for peace and a cease to violence in our world.