posted January 29, 2010

Author Chris Rice to Address a Christian Vision for Reconciliation

Author Chris Rice, co-director of the Duke University Center for Reconciliation, will present "Becoming the Beloved Community in America's New Racial Time:  Lessons from 30 Years in the Trenches" on Monday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. at Hope College in the Maas Center auditorium.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Chris Rice grew up in South Korea, where his parents were Presbyterian missionaries.  After attending Middlebury College in Vermont, his life took a dramatic turn when he lived and worked 17 years in an inner-city neighborhood in Jackson, Miss., with Voice of Calvary, an interracial church and Christian community-development ministry. For 12 of those years he lived in an intentional Christian community called Antioch. In 1993, he co-authored "More than Equals: Racial Healing for the Sake of the Gospel," with his African-American colleague Spencer Perkins.

In 2000, Rice joined Duke Divinity School for mid-career Master of Divinity studies, seeking to understand how and if the world of academy and university can be relevant to the world of Christian activism and engagement for social change. In 2002 he published "Grace Matters," a memoir of his Mississippi journey, chosen as one of the Best Religion Books of 2002 by "Publishers Weekly." In 2004 he convened the track on Reconciliation at the 2004 Lausanne Forum on World Evangelization.

He and Emmanuel Katongole, who is also co-director of the Duke University Center for Reconciliation, are co-authors of "Reconciling All Things A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing," winner of the 2009 Christianity Today Book Award.  In addition, Rice has written for "Sojourners," "Christianity Today," "The Christian Century" and other magazines.

The February 1 presentation is part of a series of events scheduled as the Reformed Church in America, the college's parent denomination, considers adopting the Belhar Confession, which is a confession of the Christian church in South Africa written out of the struggle against Apartheid in the 1980s.  Following several years of study and reflection on the confession by the RCA's members and congregations, the 2009 General Synod of the RCA voted to adopt the Belhar Confession as a standard of unity, a decision that now needs approval by two thirds of the RCA's 46 classes.  More information about the Belhar Confession may be found in the Belhar Confession Study Center on the RCA's Web site at www.rca.org.

Rice's address is co-sponsored by multiple programs at Hope, including the Phelps Scholars Program, campus ministries, the CrossRoads Project, multicultural education, international education and the department of religion.  His activities while in campus will also include speaking during the college's Chapel service on Monday, Feb. 1.

The MaasCenter is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street.