Our Legacy

History and Influences of the Children's Spirituality Summit

Our Story

In July 2000, a small group of Christian Education scholars attended the first International Conference on Children’s Spirituality held in Chichester, England, including Catherine Stonehouse, Scottie May, Shirley Morganthaler, and Holly Allen. The conference was on general spirituality rather than Christian spirituality which surprised them; spirituality in the UK, they learned, is what those in the United States might call social studies or a course on citizenship. But there were quite a few Christians in attendance; some informal clusters formed with lots of conversation including chatting about how nice it would be to have something like this from a Christian perspective in the USA. 

 

Over the next year, Kevin Lawson, of Talbot Seminary, and Scottie May, of Wheaton, began to discuss how it might look and where they could hold this type of gathering. They brainstormed names of people who shared this interest and values whom we wanted invite onto a board. One key value was spreading a broad tent- not limiting the conference to theological conservatives or evangelicals. With the additional leadership of Shirley Morganthaler, they agreed to hold the first conference at Concordia in Chicago, IL.

 

The first planning meeting was held at Concordia in the spring of 2001. The group was theologically diverse and included Lawson, May, Morganthaler, Jerome Berryman, and Marcia Bunge. They discussed components to put into the first conference, names for potential keynotes, and names of researchers doing work in the area of spirituality of children, and determined to aim for academic researchers and thoughtful practitioners. They wanted a practical aspect to the conference in addition to a broad variety of theological and theoretical perspectives. 

 

The first gathering was in the spring of 2003... FINISH STORY 

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