MC's February Meetings speaker espouses youth, young adult ministries with substance

Jan. 23, 2004
Karen B. Eldridge, Director of News and Public Information

"Youth and young adults look to the church to show them something, Someone, capable of turning their lives inside out and the world upside down. Most of the time we have offered them pizza."

So writes Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean in The Godbearing Life: The Art of Soul-Tending in Youth Ministry , a book she co-authored with fellow minister Ron Foster in 1998. Dean, a frequent speaker and consultant for youth ministry, is expected to talk about the challenges of and hope for youth ministry when she lectures on "The Godbearing Life: Young Adults and the Quest for a Passionate Church" as Maryville College's February Meetings speaker Feb. 26-28.

Dean's visit is being co-sponsored with Maryville's New Providence Presbyterian Church, and sessions on Feb. 27 and 28 will be held at the church.

Dean, associate professor of youth, church and culture and director of the Tennent School of Christian Education at Princeton Theological Seminary, is an ordained United Methodist minister and elder in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference. She served in local church and campus ministry before joining the faculty of PTS. In addition to The Godbearing Life , Dean authored Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church and co-authored and edited Starting Right: Thinking Theologically About Youth Ministry. She has written numerous articles on youth and practical theology.

"I am especially pleased to welcome Dr. Dean as our February Meetings speaker this year," said the Rev. Anne D. McKee, Maryville College campus minister. "In its programs for faith and learning, the College seeks to equip students to live out Christ's call to serve others and to be the next generation of leadership in the church. Dr. Dean can help us see what that  ‘next generation' church might look like, and how each of us can best respond to Christ's call in it."

Prior to each presentation, special music will be provided by Bryan McFarland, a full-time performing songwriter and 1983 graduate of Maryville College. McFarland, who leads artist/minister-in-residence programs, house concerts and workshops in spirituality and creativity, also provides contemporary worship consultant services.

Held annually since 1877, February Meetings have offered an annual opportunity to reflect on the Christian faith and the authentic life. In years past, guest speakers and special music have been highlights of the condensed lecture series, which is open to members of the college community and people in the area.

Meetings begin at Maryville College

Topics for the Feb. 26 sessions include "Doom on You: Is Your Church Headed for the Ice Age?" and "Someone Save Me: God-Haunted Youth in a Soul-Numbing Culture," scheduled for 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. Both sessions will be held in the Music Hall of the College's Fine Arts Center. At 11 a.m., Feb. 27, Dean will speak in Lawson Auditorium of the College's Fayerweather Hall. The topic is entitled "The Godbearing Life: The Art of Soul-Tending for Postmodern Ministry."

Meetings move to New Providence Presbyterian

At New Providence, Dean is expected to address issues of spirituality and spiritual searching in a series entitled "The God-barren Life."

Dean's two-day visit at the church will begin with a dinner in the church's Westminster Hall at 6 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the speaker will give her first of three presentations, the first one entitled "Cracking Up: Baptism by Silence."

Lectures and discussions on Sat., Feb. 28, begin at 8 a.m. with a free continental breakfast in Westminster Hall. Dean's 8:30 a.m. address is entitled "Drying Up: Baptism by Sand." Dean's last address, entitled "Looking Up: Baptism by Cloudburst," will begin at 7 p.m. in the church's sanctuary but is preceded with a dinner in Westminster Hall beginning at 6 p.m.

Costs for the dinners are $5 for adults, $2.50 for children 12 and under and free for children under the age of 3.

For more information on February Meetings, contact McKee at 865.981.8298 or .

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,198.