Summit will return for its 109th year in just more than a week under a team of first-time leaders.
Summit is an annual lectureship series sponsored by the university that draws in hundreds of religious leaders and people to share ideas. This year’s Summit will take place Sept. 20-23 with the theme, “Same Mind, United in Imitating Jesus,” which comes from the book of Philippians.
In March, Dr. David Wray agreed to serve as interim director after Dr. Brady Bryce, assistant professor of practical theology and director of contextual education, stepped down from the position. Wray, professor emeritus of Bible, missions and ministry, formed a group of five others to lead Summit this year – Roland Orr, an alumnus and retired Abilene businessman, Judy Siburt, wife of the late Dr. Charles Siburt, former vice president for church relations, Mandy Scudder, administrative coordinator, Anna Jane Perrey, ministry events coordinator, and Lauren Ward, biblical studies graduate student from Benbrook.
The group picked up where Bryce left off and organized the conference in seven months. Usually, planning starts a year in advance. This was the first time for all members to take part in organizing Summit.
“We’ve said all along that it takes a village to host a Summit,” Wray said. “It was the first time for all of us, so we had almost no corporate memory on our planning team. These are volunteers that really just believe in ACU.”
Scudder, who worked for the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Science, was asked to be the administrative coordinator of Summit and said she willingly agreed to take the position.
“One of the blessings I’ve had is the opportunity to work on a team,” she said. “It’s taken multiple offices to help us get ready; we couldn’t have done it on our own.”
The team of six was responsible for scheduling seven theme speakers and about 130 classes. Because of the quick shift in leadership, Wray said the group didn’t have enough time to negotiate speakers outside Churches of Christ. However, he was able to use his university connections and relationships with Highland Church of Christ, where he worked for 15 years, to bring in theme speakers.
Evening speakers will include Bryce, who will open Summit at 7 p.m. Sunday in Moody Coliseum, Chris Smith from Nashville, Raymond Carr from California and Mike Cope, former Highland minister and now preacher in Midland. Dr. Richard Beck, chair of the Department of Psychology, will be among the Chapel speakers.
Other events include late-night music performances in Cullen Auditorium, extended sessions and exhibits promoting missions and churches around campus.
Summit is free for students and attendees, and students will have the opportunity to earn seven spiritual formation credits for attending sessions in Moody during and outside of Chapel.
Orr said he hopes students feel a part of Summit as the campus become crowded with guests.
“It literally touches every facet of the ACU campus,” he said. “It’s a great event, and it’s a great opportunity for people to come in and fellowship and dialogue and listen to really good speakers talk about really pertinent things.”
For more information and a full schedule of events and classes, visit http://www.acu.edu/summit.