The Calvin W. Didier Annual Seminar on Religion and Contemporary Thought


What does it mean to say, "I am spiritual but not religious?"

Didier Seminar April 15, 16, 17

Friday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 16 at 9:00 a.m. - noon

 Sunday, April 17 at the 10:00 a.m. worship and Adult Enrichment after worship
(The Sunday events are free and open to the public.)

The cost of the seminar is $25.00. It will take place in the Great Hall. The seminar starts on Friday evening, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Saturday will be from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Diana will be preaching on Sunday, April 17 and will be our speaker at Adult Enrichment after the worship service in the sanctuary.



What does it mean to say, “ I am spiritual but not religious?” Why are people leaving religion behind? In her new book, Grounded: Finding God in the World - A Spiritual Revolution,  Diana Butler Bass, the nation’s leading commentator on religion and culture, explores the territory of shifting faith. Like other aspects of American Life, she says, Christianity is going through a challenging period of change. There is an awakening, perhaps even a revolution, that is reshaping Christian belief and practice. Is this a change for the worse or the better? You might be surprised by her hopeful, open and life-giving approach to reimagining Christian faith.

” Mark your calendars to explore the observations and projections of famed contemporary religious historian Diana Butler Bass on April 15, 16, and 17. In conjunction with this year’s seminar, you are invited to join the All-Church Book Read of Dr. Bass’ most recent book Grounded, for sale after church on February Sundays. Brunch and dinner discussion groups will be held in members’ homes during the first two weeks in April. We look forward to sharing dynamic new ideas and conversations together.

The Calvin W. Didier Annual Seminar on Religion and Contemporary Thought is a study opportunity typically comprised of a weekend event presenting an opportunity for participants to listen to and dialogue with an expert on a topic of current spiritual interest.

Past Speakers and Topics:

  • 1998 - Rev. Dr. J. Andrew Overman - "Jews and Christians - How Did We Start and Where are We Headed?"
  • 1999 - Rev. Dr. Marcus Borg - “Jesus in Contemporary Scholarship”
  • 2000 - Dr. Richard Horsley -” Jesus Paul and the New World Order”
  • 2001 - Rev. Dr. Calvin Roetzel, Rev. Dr. Marilyn Salmon, Rabbi Barry Cytron- “ Contemporary Biblical Scholarship: What Have We Learned and What Does It Matter?”
  • 2002 - Dr. Elaine Pagels - “ The Challenge of the Gospel of Thomas: Different Views of Jesus and His Message”
  • 2003 - Dr. Gordon Kaufman - “How  Do We Do Theology Today? : Serendipitous Creativity”
  • 2004 - Dr. Dominic Crossan -” The Historical Jesus and the Kingdom of God Then and Now”
  • 2005 - Rev. Dr. ( Sir) John Polkinghorne -”Belief in God in an Age of Science"
  • 2006 - Dr. Don Swearer - “Buddhism”
  • 2007 - Rev. Dr. Martin Marty - “Must Faiths Collide?”
  • 2008 - Dr. Philip Jenkins - “The Next Christendom”
  • 2009 - Dr. Imam Seyyed Hossein Nasr -” The Heart of Islam”
  • 2010 - Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault - “Meditation and Visionary Seeing in the Christian Tradition”
  • 2011 - Dr. Wilson Yates, Prof. Michael Dennis Browne, and Dr. Stephen Paulus - "Theology, Spirituality, and the Arts." Rev. David Miller and Dr. Aaron David Miller - "Light in Deepest Night" (A Lenten Meditation, based on writings of Julian of Norwich)
  • 2012 - John Philip Newell - A New Harmony: The Spirit, The Earth, and the Human Soul"
  • 2013 - Professor Paul Knitter - "Must My God be Bigger than your God?" (Moving Beyond Competition to Cooperation).
  • 2014 - Dr. Amy-Jill Levine - "Jesus, Judaism and Christianity"
  • 2015 - Rev. Dr. Marilyn Salmon - "Jesus Then and Now"