2024 C.S. Lewis Summer Seminars

Week 1: Saturday, July 20 – Friday, July 26
Week 2: Sunday, July 28 – Saturday, August 3

Event OverviewItineraryEndorsements
The CSL Study Centre at “The Kilns”RegistrationPhoto Gallery

A One-of-a-Kind Small Group Experience in C.S. Lewis’ Home Near Oxford, England

The Kilns Oxford Pic

Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to explore the life and works of C.S. Lewis with a small group of fellow travelers at C.S. Lewis’ beloved home, The Kilns!

Join us for a week of learning, fellowship, and renewal in the world renowned “City of the Dreaming Spires”– Oxford, England.

Visit many of the places in Oxford where C.S. Lewis and his fellow Inklings taught, frequented, and lived.

Stay in a nearby bed and breakfast as you visit The Kilns daily to study with Jerry Root and Kim Gilnett, who will lead you in an engaging exploration of C.S. Lewis’ “Big Ideas”–

  1. Seeing Reality as it is rather than how we would have it be. For Lewis this was foundational to the discovery of truth and the support of all truth claims. The Abolition of Man is a book length treatment of this idea.  
  2. Reality is Iconoclastic. An Iconoclast breaks idols, and Reality itself breaks the idol. One of the reasons why Lewis’s writing is so full of wonder is due to his sensitivity to this idea.
  3. The concept of “Joy” or longing. Lewis records in Surprised by Joy, how longing, or Sehnsucht, prodded him through what he called “the dialectic of desire” to find the true object of his desire: God. This theme is found everywhere in Lewis’s work.
  4. The life of the Imagination. Lewis wrote that the imaginative man in him was older and more continuously operative than the rational man. This is certainly evident in his poetry, children’s books, science fiction, satires, novel, and his ability to craft images of complex ideas.
  5. The Problem of Evil. The problem of evil and human suffering drove Lewis away from his childhood faith. Once he was able to get his mind and heart around this matter he was able to share what he found and help others who struggled with the issue.

Experience the pleasures of new friendships, fine dining, and warm hospitality as you find respite from the hectic pace of modern day life. Whether enjoying the many cultural treasures of Oxford, venturing on a guided tour of the city of Cambridge, or having tea in the garden with your companions, you will find your visit to The Kilns to be one of life’s rare treasures.

For an unforgettable inside visit to the world of Lewis’ Oxford and Cambridge, this most unique program offers the definitive experience. You simply won’t want to miss it!

* Please note that the content of the second week is the same as the first week.


Leaders: Professor Jerry Root, Kim Gilnett, and Debbie Higgens (see below for biographical information)

Itinerary: Visit our Itinerary page for details.

Registration: Registration includes all sessions and programming for the event, local transportation during the program, entrance fees to local/regional attractions, and 7 meals: 5 lunches, 1 afternoon tea, and 2 dinners.

Registration does not include: airfare, lodging, breakfast, pre and post event transportation, other meals, and other expenses not specifically mentioned.

Enrollment for each week is limited to 14 people.

Some scholarship funding is available. Applicants are not required to be students to be eligible. You will need to submit 1) your resumé, 2) a letter explaining why you’d like to attend the seminar and why you need financial support, and 3) two letters of recommendation, preferably a professional one and a personal one speaking to your personal character and faith. If you would like to apply for a scholarship or have any questions, please contact Maribeth Barber Albritton at malbritton@cslewis.org.

Scholarship application deadline: You must submit your application by February 21 and all reference letters by February 28.

Speakers & Staff

Jerry Root — Jerry is Emeritus Professor of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois and a visiting Professor at Biola University.

He attended Whittier College in Whittier, California where he was awarded 7 Varsity Letters in football and wrestling. He started for his college championship team for three years and as a running back he never once fumbled and never lost a yard all the times he carried the football. This meant lots of first down carries and touchdowns. He played some form of American football until he was 44 years old.

Jerry received a Master of Divinity degree from Talbot Graduate School of Theology and earned his Ph.D. through the Open University at the Oxford Center for Mission Studies. He has been studying C. S. Lewis and topics constellating around Lewis for 53 years, as well as teaching Lewis for 43 years. He has lectured on Lewis topics at 79 Universities in 19 countries.

His books include: the bestselling and award winning The Quotable C. S. Lewis, co-edited with Wayne Martindale; The Soul of C. S. Lewis, also co-authored with Wayne Martindale; C. S. Lewis and a Problem of Evil (Princeton Theological Monographs); The Surprising Imagination of C. S. Lewis, and The Neglected C. S. Lewis, both co-authored with Mark Neal; The C. S. Lewis Bible, co-edited with Douglas Gresham (Lewis’s step-son); The Sacrament of Evangelism, co-authored with Stan Guthrie; and Naked and Unashamed, coauthored with Claudia Root & Jeremy Rios. Recently, Jerry published Splendour in the Dark a book about C. S. Lewis’s narrative poem Dymer (the book also includes Lewis’s 100-page poem). Jerry has also written numerous articles about C. S. Lewis and evangelism published in other books, journals, and periodicals, as well as read numerous academic papers at various academic venues.

Kim Gilnett — Kim is Senior Admissions Counselor at the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Seattle Pacific University. His abiding passion as an Anglophile and true Lewisian has made him a highly experienced and engaging tour leader for our C.S. Lewis Summer Seminars.

His intense study of Lewis has afforded him the opportunity to meet a number of Lewis’s friends and scholars. He has spent over 17 summers at The Kilns, where he has been actively involved in ensuring the historical accuracy of its restoration and in the conduct of the Summer Seminars.

Debbie Higgens Staff Pic

Debbie Higgens – Debbie currently serves as the Resident Medievalist in the English department at La Sierra University. She served as Director to the C.S. Lewis Study Centre at The Kilns from 2010 until 2014. Previous to her work for the C.S. Lewis Foundation, she taught in the English Department of Southern Adventist University for the past 17 years. She has also served as a full-time missionary in Costa Rica, lived in Japan as a child, and spent five of her teen-age years living in Turkey and Germany. Debbie has been involved with the C.S. Lewis Foundation since 2002 and first visited the Kilns in its early renovation stages in 1994. She is the author of Anglo-Saxon Community in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, which she wrote while living at the Kilns as a Scholar-in-Residence.

“Jack and I went out and saw the place on Sunday morning, and I instantly caught the infection: we did not go inside the house, but the eight acre garden is such stuff as dreams are made of.”

–Major Warren Lewis, from Brothers and Friends, upon describing his first visit to The Kilns