Upper House Events

Upper House

Upper House hosts more than 50 events each year. While we want our guests to experience our events in-person, we know some of our audience is not in the Madison area. read less
Religion & SpiritualityReligion & Spirituality

Episodes

What does it mean to love someone? | Public Lecture by Miroslav Volf
27-02-2024
What does it mean to love someone? | Public Lecture by Miroslav Volf
What does it mean to love someone?This is a recorded lecture by theologian and public intellectual Miroslav Volf. Drawing on biblical themes and stories of The Good Samaritan and The Widow’s Offering, Professor Volf will speak to love’s generous practicality, its incomparable power to confer value, nobility, and beauty on others, and its active refusal to respect boundaries born of prejudice. If you seek a fresh vision of love and its outworking in a society grappling with division and disenfranchisement, or if you desire a deeper understanding of what it means to love your neighbor as God’s Great Commandment exhorts, you will be in good company. ----About our Speaker:Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology and Founding Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. His books include Allah: A Christian Response (2011); Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (2006), which was the Archbishop of Canterbury Lenten book for 2006; Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (1996), a winner of the 2002 Grawemeyer Award; and After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (1998), winner of the Christianity Today book award. A member of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. and the Evangelical Church in Croatia, Professor Volf has been involved in international ecumenical dialogues (for instance, with the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) and interfaith dialogues (Common Word), and was an active participant in the Global Agenda Council on Values of the World Economic Forum. A native of Croatia, he regularly teaches and lectures in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, and across North America. Professor Volf is a fellow of Berkeley College. His degrees include a B.A. from Evangelical-Theological Faculty (Zagreb, Croatia), an M.A. from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Dr. of Theology from the University of Tubingen (Tubingen, Germany).----🎥 Watch this recorded event on YouTube - https://youtu.be/bu8PeKRVD9M
Forgiveness, Justice, and Reconciliation with Miroslav Volf
23-02-2024
Forgiveness, Justice, and Reconciliation with Miroslav Volf
Why would we consider forgiving someone who has deeply harmed us? How do we even go about forgiving someone who doesn’t deserve it? And where might forgiveness eventually lead us—individually and even corporately—if we pursue it? Forgiveness is beyond challenging. Some injuries are so acute, the very idea of forgiveness seems out of bounds. And when atrocities are perpetrated against an entire people group, how is forgiveness even an option? Is real justice attainable? Or peace? No-one, after all, is entitled to a “get out of jail free” card. During this lunch conversation, theologian and public intellectual Miroslav Volf shared his own story of forgiving a crime against a family member. He also addressed the nuances and implications of forgiveness and justice for reconciliation at the national level, especially in reference to South Africa and its long history of apartheid. Facilitating our conversation was Christine Jeske, an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Wheaton College who has studied the human and economic impacts of systemic injustice in the global south and is currently researching how Christians envision and seek racial justice.About our Speaker:Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology and Founding Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. His books include Allah: A Christian Response (2011); Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (2006), which was the Archbishop of Canterbury Lenten book for 2006; Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (1996), a winner of the 2002 Grawemeyer Award; and After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (1998), winner of the Christianity Today book award. A member of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. and the Evangelical Church in Croatia, Professor Volf has been involved in international ecumenical dialogues (for instance, with the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) and interfaith dialogues (Common Word), and was an active participant in the Global Agenda Council on Values of the World Economic Forum. A native of Croatia, he regularly teaches and lectures in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, and across North America. Professor Volf is a fellow of Berkeley College. His degrees include a B.A. from Evangelical-Theological Faculty (Zagreb, Croatia), an M.A. from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Dr. of Theology from the University of Tubingen (Tubingen, Germany).About our Moderator:Christine Jeske pursues moral and cultural questions around economic development, and writes about what North Americans have to learn from the global South regarding finance and wellbeing. Her current research considers how Christians envision and seek racial justice; she has also studied how people imagine achieving a “good life,” especially when unemployed or working in low-wage jobs. Prior to joining the Wheaton faculty, Dr. Jeske worked in microfinance, refugee resettlement, community development, and teaching in Nicaragua, Northwest China, and South Africa. The author of three books and many articles for popular and academic audiences, Jeske’s most recent book, The Laziness Myth, considers what makes work desirable, how racism shapes work, and how people find hope in undesirable working conditions. She holds a B.A. in English and Piano from UW-Madison, an M.B.A. in Economic Development from Eastern University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from UW-Madison.🎥 Watch this event on YouTube - https://youtu.be/U6YiosVIDzs
What is Christian Praying? | Session 2 | February 2024 the Upper House Lectures
09-02-2024
What is Christian Praying? | Session 2 | February 2024 the Upper House Lectures
We dive deep into discussions about faith, Christianity, and the historical context of the Bible. In this episode, we explore the fascinating topic of apostolic prayer in the Book of Acts with our guest, Amos Yong. Amos shares insightful observations about the patterns and themes of prayer in the apostolic narrative, shedding light on the various contexts, postures, practices, and contents of prayers performed by the apostles. We dissect the significance of prayer in advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, reflecting on its role in enabling disciples to bear witness to the teachings of Jesus. Join us as we delve into the nuances of apostolic prayer and uncover its profound implications for our understanding and practice of prayer today. Tune in as we navigate through intriguing discussion points and unravel the complexities of prayer in the apostolic era.Question: What is Christian Praying? The Hows, Whats, and Whys of This Mysterious ActivityAnswer: Amos Yong, Ph.D.Do you ever wonder what we are doing when we pray, particularly in light of Jesus’ and early Christians praying?The biblical accounts provide templates for praying on the one hand but also, if we are open to a fresh reconsideration, raise many questions about this fundamental human activity on the other. Come to revisit and dialogue about prayer — Jesus’, the early disciples’, and our own — whether you consider yourself a “prayer warrior” or someone who doesn’t pray.About our Speaker: Amos Yong is Professor of Theology and Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. His graduate education includes degrees in theology, history, and religious studies from Western Evangelical Seminary (now Portland Seminary) and Portland State University, both in Portland, Oregon, and Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, and an undergraduate degree from Bethany University of the Assemblies of God. Licensed as a minister with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, he has also authored or edited dozens of scholarly volumes. He and his wife, Alma, have three children and six grandchildren. Amos and Alma reside in Southern California.
What is Christian Praying? | Session 1 | February 2024 the Upper House Lectures
08-02-2024
What is Christian Praying? | Session 1 | February 2024 the Upper House Lectures
In this electrifying session, Dr. Amos Yong illuminated Jesus' prayer life, planting seeds of wisdom on the importance of nurturing a habit of heartfelt prayer. He adeptly unpacked the beginnings of Jesus' ministry and transported us to those quiet places where Jesus sought solace and strength through prayer. Tony Bolos introduced the concept of immersive learning, revealing how a semester's worth of insight can be condensed into a single enriching evening. Together, they've challenged us to delve deep into the essence of the Lord's Prayer and the compelling portrayal of God as a father, sparking a profound conversation on the role of prayer in our personal lives and communities. Tune in, reflect, and join the Upper House as we explore the confluence of spirituality, ethics, and culture. Don't miss this transformative journey – a moment of discovery that promises to reshape your perspective.Question: What is Christian Praying? The Hows, Whats, and Whys of This Mysterious ActivityAnswer: Amos Yong, Ph.D.Do you ever wonder what we are doing when we pray, particularly in light of Jesus’ and early Christians praying?The biblical accounts provide templates for praying on the one hand but also, if we are open to a fresh reconsideration, raise many questions about this fundamental human activity on the other. Come to revisit and dialogue about prayer — Jesus’, the early disciples’, and our own — whether you consider yourself a “prayer warrior” or someone who doesn’t pray.About our Speaker: Amos Yong is Professor of Theology and Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. His graduate education includes degrees in theology, history, and religious studies from Western Evangelical Seminary (now Portland Seminary) and Portland State University, both in Portland, Oregon, and Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, and an undergraduate degree from Bethany University of the Assemblies of God. Licensed as a minister with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, he has also authored or edited dozens of scholarly volumes. He and his wife, Alma, have three children and six grandchildren. Amos and Alma reside in Southern California.
Gone for Good?: Negotiating the Coming Wave of Church Property Transition (Book Launch)
05-02-2024
Gone for Good?: Negotiating the Coming Wave of Church Property Transition (Book Launch)
By 2030, as many as 100,000 church buildings and billions of dollars of church-owned property are expected to be sold or repurposed throughout the U.S. — representing the loss of gathering places and even social services in communities nationwide. According to Mark Elsdon, author and editor of Gone for Good: Negotiating the Coming Wave of Church Property Transition (Eerdmans, 2024), the transfer of church property is both a critical issue and an opportunity for church and community leaders seeking to serve the common good. How do we face the issues and opportunities head-on and mission-minded?This event was a book launch and conversation at Upper House with Mark Elsdon, Executive Director of Pres House and Co-Founder and Lead Builder of Rooted Good, who will address how church properties have been creatively redeployed to serve the common good. Also joining were other book contributors:Kurt Paulsen (appearing in person), professor of urban planning in the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture at UW-MadisonJoseph Daniels, Jr. (live via Zoom), lead pastor of the Emory Fellowship in Washington D.C. Coté Soerens (live via Zoom), social innovator at the Center for Transformative Neighborhoods at Trinity Christian College You might be especially interested in this event if you are a Senior Pastor, Executive Pastor, Facilities Manager for a church, CFO/Treasurer, or city planning staff.----This event was recorded live at Upper House on January 17, 2024. ----View this recorded event on YouTube = https://youtu.be/Q7kv_JRRwK4
The Role of the Church in American Politics
19-12-2023
The Role of the Church in American Politics
It would be salutary for the church and its leadership to remain silent for a season until it learns how to engage in politics and even talk about politics in ways that are non-Nietzschean. James Davison Hunter (quoted above) coined the term “culture wars.” A sociologist, he is an astute observer of culture and a writer of many books reflecting on the times we live in. What, precisely, is he driving at when he claims it would be beneficial for the church and its leaders to “remain silent for a season,” or learn to engage with politics in a non-Nietzschean manner? In brief, he’s inviting the church and its leaders to engage in ways that disarm resentment and hostility. Sadly, when the church or Christians at large talk politics, the posture all too often devolves to one of hostility or indignation; the effect is to undermine the church’s invitational role, its sacred call to introduce people to Jesus, son of the Living God.But, when so much seems at stake, is the church to remain silent on things political? If it is silent, is the church guilty of a type of complicity? These questions are also pressing.This timely discussion with Ron Sanders, a teacher, author, and researcher who has studied the intersection of religion and public policy—especially the relationship between the Christian tradition and the Democratic tradition in America. Together we will talk about the role of the church in democratic politics. We will consider the architecture for a political theology that isn’t confined to democracy. And we will talk about why democracy needs Christians to be faithful to Jesus in order for its citizens to flourish.Ron addressed the political issues of our day in relationship to the church from a non-partisan viewpoint. Upper House hosted this event in partnership with Badger Cru and Blackhawk CAM.----This event was recorded on October 24, 2023.----About our speaker:Ron Sanders is an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary. His field of research is the intersection of religion and public policy—especially the relationship between the Christian Tradition and the Democratic Tradition in America. He is the author of After the Election: Prophetic Politics in a Post-Secular Age and a chapter in Justice and the Way of Jesus. He has also served on the staff of Cru for 32 years. He is currently a religious advisor to the football team at Stanford University and the Coordinator for Moral and Spiritual Formation for Cru.Ron is married to Bonnie and has two adult children, Zac and Sarah. He graduated from Montana State University with a B.S. in Mathematics, Talbot School of Theology with an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics, and Fuller Theological Seminary with a Ph.D. in Theology with an emphasis in Christian Ethics. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Ron and his family began to to play hacky-sack during quarantine, and when his family is all together in one place, they can be found trying to recruit people for their “circle.” He wants to be an amateur chef and plays competitive pickleball in his free time.
Christ and the Sacramental Imagination
15-12-2023
Christ and the Sacramental Imagination
A fundamental difference between the secular and Christian imagination relates to how people view the world. For many, it is assumed that only those things we can physically see and touch are what exist. Scripture teaches, however, that there are two realities that exist alongside each other: one visible and one invisible. Moreover, Christians have long believed that these seen and unseen realities uniquely overlap, first and foremost in Jesus Christ, and consequently in His Church. We might call this way of viewing the world “the sacramental imagination.” It speaks to our profound thirst for the transcendent and is central to how the Bible invites us to see Jesus, the Church, and all creation. Come and explore with us, from a Roman Catholic and Anglican perspective, the biblical roots of these themes, their influence on popular culture, and how they practically shape our faith.PresentationsOur presenters, Father Scott Cunningham of Christ Church Madison (Anglican) and Bishop Donald J. Hying of the Catholic Diocese of Madison, each offered a presentation followed by a time of Q&A.A Portal To Eternity | Father Scott Cunningham, Christ Church MadisonOur modern world is obsessed with stories about portals to another world, from the wardrobe in Narnia to Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross. We are enthralled with the enduring idea that there are worlds that overlap, with openings between them. Where do these stories—and these longings—come from? More importantly, do these fantasies have any correlation to our reality? In addressing these questions, Fr. Scott will lead us to see that the story of Scripture is not only more audacious than modern fiction, but it is also a life-changing reality.The Word Made Flesh: Jesus Christ as the Source of a Sacramental Vision | Bishop Donald J. Hying, Catholic Diocese of MadisonBecause God embraced our humanity in Jesus Christ, stepping into time and space, the entire material world has taken on a new meaning and significance. All of created reality, including our own human identity, becomes an incarnation of the spiritual and invisible. Through this sacramental experience, God reveals Himself to us.----This event was recorded on December 3, 2023.----About our Speakers:Fr. Scott Cunningham hails from Tennessee and Texas, where he was raised in a family of faith and ministry. He moved to Chicago to study music, theology, and literature at Wheaton College and later earned an M.A. in Biblical Exegesis. Fr. Scott has served in the Anglican communion for almost two decades. For two years he trained for pastoral ministry in churches in Sheffield, England, before returning to serve in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest in the Anglican Church in North America. He was ordained as a Deacon in 2017 and as a priest in 2018. Now Fr. Scott pastors at Christ Church Madison, an Anglican church he and his wife Marissa helped plant in 2018. When Fr. Scott is not serving the Church, you can find him hanging out with his four sons, reading a good book, or playing in bars with his local folk band, the Continental Congress.Bishop Donald J. Hying was born in West Allis, Wisconsin. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and his master’s degree from St. Francis Seminary, Bishop Hying was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. His priestly assignments include parishes in Menomonee Falls, the Dominican Republic, and Milwaukee; he also served as Dean of Formation and rector at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary. In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Fr. Donald Hying the Titular Bishop of Regiae and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In 2014, His Holiness, Pope Francis, appointed Bishop Hying as the Fourth Bishop of Gary (Indiana); five years later, His Holiness, Pope...
The Wisconsin Idea: A Platform for Church-University Collaboration?
15-12-2023
The Wisconsin Idea: A Platform for Church-University Collaboration?
This gathering was cohosted with the Awaken Dane project, a Lilly Endowment, Inc., funded initiative that helps participants from local churches listen deeply for and awaken to where the Spirit of God is at work in their local communities so they can join in that holy work. During our evening together, we will address pressing questions: How might the Church help the university advance the common good, or more effectively implement the Wisconsin Idea? What can the Church learn from the University to better serve its communities?A long-standing critique of colleges and universities is that they are elitist institutions detached from the interests of everyday citizens. In fact, the 19th-century term “ivory tower” disparages faculty who happily pursued their favorite subjects without giving any thought to the greater public, whose taxes fund public institutions. UW President Charles Van Hise directly addressed such public concerns by articulating the Wisconsin Idea (1904) — that university research should be applied to solve problems and improve health, quality of life, the environment, and agriculture for all citizens of the state of Wisconsin — thus drawing a clear connection between the work of the university and the common good.While still strongly associated with the Wisconsin Idea, many citizens perceive the UW as a detached, inaccessible institution whose programs are so specialized and obscure they bear little relation to most people’s felt needs and realities. In fact, universities across the country are grappling with loss of public trust in higher education and questions about their work having public relevance. These concerns are fueling a national and international movement to reimagine what it means for universities to meaningfully collaborate with communities to advance the common good. Potential collaborators in this movement? The Church and its leaders, who serve the spiritual, physical, and social needs of their communities. Through the platform of the Wisconsin Idea, the UW and the Church might find ways to converse and advance the common good in our community. Joining us to discuss the challenges and opportunities of these distinct institutions working together is David Weerts, who brings his scholarship on the Wisconsin Idea and insights from his work in the Office of Public Engagement at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, to our dinner.----This event was recorded on November 9, 2023.----About our speaker:David J. Weerts, Ph.D., is a professor of higher education and faculty director in the Office for Public Engagement at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Over the past 25 years, his scholarship and teaching have focused on how colleges and universities collaborate with external partners to serve the public good. He has received awards for his research from the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. Professor Weerts serves as vice chair of the board at Anselm House, a Christian Study Center that exists to help students and faculty at the University of Minnesota connect faith and knowledge with all of life. He holds a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Midwest Gospel Preaching Summit 2023 | Rev. Dr. Jerry M. Carter, Jr.
12-12-2023
Midwest Gospel Preaching Summit 2023 | Rev. Dr. Jerry M. Carter, Jr.
Three nationally known preachers with a passion for training pastors and ministers will headline our second Midwest Gospel Preaching Summit, focusing on the theme Preaching that Changes Lives (Romans 10:9-17). Mt Zion Baptist Church and Upper House in Madison, Wisconsin, are cohosts of this transformative Summit for pastors and ministers committed to advancing the spiritual growth of their congregants and the church as a whole.Romans 10:9-17, the Scriptural foundation of this Summit, emphasizes the importance of hearing and responding to God’s Word, especially the crucial role the preacher plays in bringing people to faith through sharing the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Summit’s speakers will delve into this passage’s nuances and share ways their fellow pastors can convincingly communicate the gospel message and inspire their listeners to take action in response.Our speakers—the Rev. Dr. Danielle L. Brown, the Rev. Dr. Jerry M. Carter, Jr., and the Rev. Dr. William Curtis—have deep insight into how to preach the transformative Word of God and engage their listeners. These speakers will, through their own preaching and presentation at the Summit, equip attendees to preach with greater confidence, fearlessly and with conviction. We pray that everyone who attends will personally celebrate this statement, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15b, NKJV)----This event was recorded on October 12, 2023. ----About our Speaker:Rev. Dr. Jerry M. Carter, Jr. is the 14th pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church of Morristown, NJ. Dr. Carter is a faithful theologian whose commitment to articulate the gospel in both written and oratory forms has transformed and shaped the lives of generations. He is a highly sought-after revivalist, keynote speaker, lecturer, mentor and teacher, who has been invited to share the gospel on numerous platforms throughout the country. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Denison University, in Granville, Ohio, a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Philosophy degree from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He is president of the African-American Clergy Association of Morris County, founder and host of the How Shall They Hear Preaching conference, and distinguished visiting professor of the Transformational Preaching Doctorate of Ministry program at New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, NJ. Dr. Carter is also an author who has inspired through his published works in the New Interpreters Handbook of Preaching, Oxford Sermons Volume III, Evangelizing the Black Male in the 21st Century and the African American Pulpit. His latest work, “The Empowered Life: Living Well in the Spirit” was published in 2015. Dr. Carter is a native of Columbus, Ohio, and the proud father of three children, Jerry M. III, Zachary Daniel, and Camille. ----View this talk on YouTube: https://youtu.be/x_IW_RRWAgo
Midwest Gospel Preaching Summit 2023 | Rev. Dr. William H. Curtis
12-12-2023
Midwest Gospel Preaching Summit 2023 | Rev. Dr. William H. Curtis
Three nationally known preachers with a passion for training pastors and ministers will headline our second Midwest Gospel Preaching Summit, focusing on the theme Preaching that Changes Lives (Romans 10:9-17). Mt Zion Baptist Church and Upper House in Madison, Wisconsin, are cohosts of this transformative Summit for pastors and ministers committed to advancing the spiritual growth of their congregants and the church as a whole.Romans 10:9-17, the Scriptural foundation of this Summit, emphasizes the importance of hearing and responding to God’s Word, especially the crucial role the preacher plays in bringing people to faith through sharing the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Summit’s speakers will delve into this passage’s nuances and share ways their fellow pastors can convincingly communicate the gospel message and inspire their listeners to take action in response.Our speakers—the Rev. Dr. Danielle L. Brown, the Rev. Dr. Jerry M. Carter, Jr., and the Rev. Dr. William Curtis—have deep insight into how to preach the transformative Word of God and engage their listeners. These speakers will, through their own preaching and presentation at the Summit, equip attendees to preach with greater confidence, fearlessly and with conviction. We pray that everyone who attends will personally celebrate this statement, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15b, NKJV)----This event was recorded on October 12, 2023. ----About this Speaker:Rev. Dr. William H. Curtis accepted the call to ministry at 17. For seven years, he served as the Senior Pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church in York, Pennsylvania; since 1997, he has served as the Senior Pastor at Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, PA, an urban ministry with more than 10,000 members. Dr. Curtis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Morgan State University, a Master of Divinity degree from Howard University School of Divinity, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary, where Dr. Curtis has also been an instructor and graduated several groups of doctoral students at the institution. He is also Co-Owner of The Church Online, a successful technology and full-service marketing firm that provides top-of-the-line services to ministries all over the world. In addition to being a member of many community boards and fraternities, Dr. Curtis has received numerous honors and awards. In 2009, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College. In the spring of 2010, Dr. Curtis moved from the speaking arena into the publishing arena with his first book, FAITH— Learning to Live Without Fear, currently in its fourth printing, followed by Dressed for Victory: Putting on the Full Armor of God.----Watch this talk on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/4VSzY2g3QOg
Midwest Gospel Preaching Summit 2023 | Rev. Dr. Danielle L. Brown
12-12-2023
Midwest Gospel Preaching Summit 2023 | Rev. Dr. Danielle L. Brown
Three nationally known preachers with a passion for training pastors and ministers will headline our second Midwest Gospel Preaching Summit, focusing on the theme Preaching that Changes Lives (Romans 10:9-17). Mt Zion Baptist Church and Upper House in Madison, Wisconsin, are cohosts of this transformative Summit for pastors and ministers committed to advancing the spiritual growth of their congregants and the church as a whole.Romans 10:9-17, the Scriptural foundation of this Summit, emphasizes the importance of hearing and responding to God’s Word, especially the crucial role the preacher plays in bringing people to faith through sharing the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Summit’s speakers will delve into this passage’s nuances and share ways their fellow pastors can convincingly communicate the gospel message and inspire their listeners to take action in response.Our speakers—the Rev. Dr. Danielle L. Brown, the Rev. Dr. Jerry M. Carter, Jr., and the Rev. Dr. William Curtis—have deep insight into how to preach the transformative Word of God and engage their listeners. These speakers will, through their own preaching and presentation at the Summit, equip attendees to preach with greater confidence, fearlessly, and with conviction. We pray that everyone who attends will personally celebrate this statement, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15b, NKJV)___This event was recorded on October 11, 2023. ___About our Speaker: Rev. Dr. Danielle L. Brown is the 10th Senior Pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Plainfield, NJ, the first woman to hold this position since the church’s founding in 1908. An increasingly sought-after preacher and workshop leader with the ability to communicate across generations, Dr. Brown has had the opportunity to share the Gospel throughout this country and in South Africa. She holds a Master of Education and Bachelor of Science Degrees from Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, and both a Master of Divinity Degree and Master of Arts Degree from New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey. She earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Palmer Theological Seminary in St. David’s Pennsylvania, where she studied Leadership and Church Renewal. She has a passion for mentoring and assisting in the development of faith and community leaders and is a site supervisor in the Princeton Theological Seminary, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and Pillar College Field Education Programs, has taught on the adjunct faculty of New York Theological Seminary, and served two terms on the Board of Trustees of New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Through the years, Dr. Brown has been the recipient of multiple awards and recognitions for her work in the church and community. In 2022, she was inducted into the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.---Watch this event on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/JLbqHOcjLCk
Accessibility in the Church: An Honest Conversation
12-12-2023
Accessibility in the Church: An Honest Conversation
Please view the video recording of this event on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/rhvILa9T-eI The church is often tested in its capacity to serve all of God’s people well, as mandated in Scripture. When it comes to serving people with disabilities, the church at times pays close attention to those who persuasively and loudly raise their voices in self-advocacy. At other times, though, the church might fail to hear the voices of those whose self-advocacy is limited. This raises questions about how the church pays attention to—and creates space for—the diverse people it is mandated to serve, including those whose challenges and disabilities are not physically obvious.Pastor Ashley McNary from Heartland Church in Sun Prairie will converse with local advocate and Christ follower Annie Heathcote, recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin. Together they will discuss the ways Annie negotiates the world on wheels, self-advocates, and works to educate others. Then they will discuss the ways the church is called—and might better serve—all God’s people, intentionally and practically. ---This event was recorded on August 10, 2023. ---About our Speakers:Annie Heathcote is a Dane County resident recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin 2023. A frequent event speaker and participant on disability panels, Annie has also been interviewed for radio, podcasts, newspapers, social media, and television. Growing up with a form of Muscular Dystrophy, she brings deep perspective of what it takes to negotiate a world of obstacles and educate people whose knowledge of disability is limited. Her faith in God informs her view of herself and infuses her with contagious hope and determination. God has shown her that disability does not mean inability. Annie graduated from Madison College with high honors and two Associate Degrees, one in Graphic Design & Illustration and the other in Web & Digital Media Design. Her mission is to learn, grow, advocate, and collaborate with the disability community and others—to raise awareness and advance accessibility and inclusion. In her free time, Annie enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, making art, singing at church, and competing as an elite athlete in an adaptive sport called Power Soccer.Ashley McNary is the Executive Pastor of Ministries at Heartland Church in Sun Prairie. She has advocated for kids with disabilities in several ways, including starting the Night to Remember Dance and the Wonderfully Made ministry at Heartland Church, designed for kids with disabilities/diverse needs. She helps lead efforts to make the church accessible to kids affected by intellectual or developmental disabilities, behavioral or emotional needs, sensory needs, limited vision or hearing, or who are blind or deaf.
Let the Art Speak—Regarding the Land | Krissy Kludt
30-11-2023
Let the Art Speak—Regarding the Land | Krissy Kludt
This recording is from our Let the Art Speak conference on April 15, 2023. Joel Sheesley was one of a few presenters throughout the day. Through the ages, artists of all types have been captivated by the beauty of the natural world. Consider Albrecht Dürer, who painted a nature study titled Great Piece of Turf (1503) featuring sweet-meadow grass and dandelions; a masterpiece, it hangs in the Albertina Museum in Vienna. You will likely find contemporary sculptor Andy Goldsworthy’s work outside a museum. A creator of ephemeral installations that include stones, leaves, sticks, snow, ice, and other natural materials, he calls his artistic process a “collaboration with nature.” In outdoor ampitheaters and concert halls, American composer Aaron Copland’s music plays, capturing the vastness of the American landscape—wide open prairies, Appalachian meadows, bird song. And through the written word, Mary Oliver’s poetry conjures the “wonder and pain” of nature and heralds our need to notice, and identify with, the world around us. Her poem, Wild Geese (2004) is a wonderful example of this.The land has been and remains the subject of innumerable creative works. Though it suffers drought, fire, floods, and abuse, the earth is ringed with beauty, both subtle and fierce. The land invites observation, wonder, and acknowledgment—by artists and lovers of art together. Viewers, listeners, dancers, and readers share a deep appreciation of the land’s textured character. And artists bear witness to the land and its multi-faceted nature. Together they will find themselves in good company at this year’s Let the Art Speak conference, where the land—as subject and muse—will be front and center.Krissy Kludt writes about identity, the land, mystery, divine love, and the passage of time. Creator of Writing the Wild and Field Guides for the Way and author of A Good Way Through (2017), she guides retreats and workshops on writing, creativity, and spiritual practice. She works and plays in the East Bay outside of San Francisco, on the ancestral lands of the Ohlone and Miwok peoples, with her husband and two sons.
Let the Art Speak—Regarding the Land | Joel Sheesley
29-11-2023
Let the Art Speak—Regarding the Land | Joel Sheesley
This recording is from our Let the Art Speak conference on April 15, 2023. Joel Sheesley was one of a few presenters throughout the day. Through the ages, artists of all types have been captivated by the beauty of the natural world. Consider Albrecht Dürer, who painted a nature study titled Great Piece of Turf (1503) featuring sweet-meadow grass and dandelions; a masterpiece, it hangs in the Albertina Museum in Vienna. You will likely find contemporary sculptor Andy Goldsworthy’s work outside a museum. A creator of ephemeral installations that include stones, leaves, sticks, snow, ice, and other natural materials, he calls his artistic process a “collaboration with nature.” In outdoor ampitheaters and concert halls, American composer Aaron Copland’s music plays, capturing the vastness of the American landscape—wide open prairies, Appalachian meadows, bird song. And through the written word, Mary Oliver’s poetry conjures the “wonder and pain” of nature and heralds our need to notice, and identify with, the world around us. Her poem, Wild Geese (2004) is a wonderful example of this.The land has been and remains the subject of innumerable creative works. Though it suffers drought, fire, floods, and abuse, the earth is ringed with beauty, both subtle and fierce. The land invites observation, wonder, and acknowledgment—by artists and lovers of art together. Viewers, listeners, dancers, and readers share a deep appreciation of the land’s textured character. And artists bear witness to the land and its multi-faceted nature. Together they will find themselves in good company at this year’s Let the Art Speak conference, where the land—as subject and muse—will be front and center.Joel Sheesley, Emeritus Professor of Art at Wheaton College, is a painter whose current work focuses on the landscape. In 2014-15, in conjunction with the Wheaton Park District, he painted exclusively on-site in Wheaton’s Lincoln Marsh Natural Area. Now he collaborates with The Conservation Foundation to raise awareness of the environmental importance of the Fox River and the Fox Valley. He is currently painting Fox River landscapes from West Dundee down to Ottawa, IL, where the Fox River joins the Illinois River. Sheesley has been a recipient of an Illinois Artist’s Fellowship, has exhibited his work in Chicago galleries, had a solo exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center, and is in numerous art collections. Sheesley is also the author of several books including A Fox River Testimony (Conservation Foundation, 2018). He lives with his wife Joan in Wheaton, IL.
Spiritual History of UW-Madison
16-11-2023
Spiritual History of UW-Madison
The spiritual history of UW-Madison is deeper, richer, and more complex than most people know. Have you ever wondered why there are so many churches located around the campus? Did you know that most of the early dorms had chapels? Have you noticed the religiously-themed plaques on buildings, or the statue in honor of Abraham in the Humanities’ building courtyard? The more you look, the more you see, and the more you might marvel. From the early president, John Bascom, to professors, administrators, and thousands of students, up to today, UW has been home to many whose faith influenced their lives and university work, and vice-versa.  Through archival research and interviews, Upper House’s Director of University Engagement, Dan Hummel, has recovered religious facts and themes that thread through UW-Madison’s entire history. Undertaken as part of the Higher Pursuits Project, with funding from the John Templeton Foundation, Upper House sought to create original research and present it in ways accessible to the wide university community, telling the ongoing story of spiritual and religious expression at UW-Madison. In recovering this story—and sharing it through written, video-, and audio-recorded means—we aim to illuminate ways spiritual inquiry and practice have been vital to UW’s identity in the past and can continue to help the campus thrive in the future.  About our speaker:Dan Hummel is Director of University Engagement at Upper House. Dan received his PhD in history from UW-Madison, and his writings on American religion and politics have appeared in Christianity Today and the Washington Post. His forthcoming book is The Rise and Fall of Dispensationalism: How the Evangelical Battle Over the End Times Shaped a Nation (Eerdmans Press, 2023). ---This event recording is from March 1, 2023. You can find a full video recording on our YouTube page (https://youtu.be/IELtEHRsceE?si=yyCZpDoSW_mKgMkm)
Climate Change, Plagues, and Political Conflict: The Era of the Early Christian Church
09-11-2023
Climate Change, Plagues, and Political Conflict: The Era of the Early Christian Church
The early Christian church emerged and dramatically spread even as Rome’s political dominion dramatically declined, weakened by mass-casualty pandemics, environmental calamities, political instability, and dehumanizing poverty. In this chaotic era, observes Roman historian Dr. Kyle Harper (University of Oklahoma), the church grew and “boasted of being a ‘new ethnos,’ a new nation” that adhered to Christian ethics and attracted people far and wide. What was it about the early church and its response to life-threatening challenges that drew people into its orbit? What does history suggest to us today, as we contend with similar challenges?----This event was recorded live at Upper House on February 18, 2023. ----About our Speaker:Kyle Harper is the G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty, Professor of Classics and Letters, Senior Advisor to the President, and Provost Emeritus at his alma mater, the University of Oklahoma. He is also a Fractal Faculty Member of the Santa Fe Institute. He is a historian whose work tries to integrate the natural sciences into the study of the human past. His main research interests include the history of infectious disease and climate change and their impact on human societies. More broadly, he writes on the history of humans as agents of ecological change and asks how we can approach questions such as biodiversity, health, and environmental sustainability from a historical perspective.The author of four books, Dr. Harper’s book, Slavery in the Late Roman World (Cambridge University Press, 2011), was awarded the James Henry Breasted Prize. His second book, From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality (Harvard University Press, 2013) received the Award for Excellence in Historical Studies from the American Academy of Religion. His third book, The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (Princeton University Press, 2017), has been translated into 12 languages. Harper’s fourth book, Plagues upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History (Princeton University Press, 2021) is a global history of infectious disease spanning from human origins to COVID-19. It tells the story of humanity’s long and distinctive struggle with pathogenic microbes. It was the 2021 PROSE winner for best book in the history of science, technology, and medicine.Dr. Harper’s next book, The Last Animal, is a history of humans and other animals, emphasizing the ways that other animals have been instrumental in our success, and the ways that our success is a danger to global biodiversity on par with the most catastrophic events in the history of the planet. Like two of his previous books, it will be published by Princeton University Press.