Thank you for your interest in the 2016 C.S. Lewis Summer Conference! Below, you will find our current list of speakers, artists, pastors, and session leaders. We will be adding names as they are confirmed, so check back regularly!
Plenary Session Speakers
Mary Poplin is a professor in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University.
Her work spans K–12 to higher education. Professor Poplin, who began her career as a public school teacher, conducts research largely on the inside of schools and classrooms, and more recently on highly effective teachers in urban poor schools. Funded by the John and Dora Haynes Foundation, she and eight colleagues conducted extensive research from 2005-2009 with 30 highly effective teachers in nine low performing urban K–12 schools in Los Angeles County. Her prior work included a study of Voices Inide the Classroom, funded by the John Kluge Foundation.
Poplin’s work in higher education has included administration; at various times, she served as dean and as director of teacher education. Academically, she explores the contemporary intellectual trends dominant in the various academic disciplines—the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. In 2014, she published Is Reality Secular? Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews (InterVarsity Press). In this new book, Poplin examines four major worldviews—naturalism, humanism, pantheism, and Judeo-Christian theism—and explores their implications for human behavior and the evidence for their truth. She is a frequent speaker in Veritas Forums throughout the country.
In 1996, Professor Poplin also worked for two months with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta to understand why she said their work was “religious work and not social work.” Her book on this experience, Finding Calcutta was published by InterVarsity Press in 2008 and is also available in Korean and Chinese.
Nicholas Wolterstorff is Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale University, Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, and Honorary Professor of Australian Catholic University.
His publications include Art in Action (Eerdmans, 1980), Works and Worlds of Art (Oxford, 1980), Justice: Rights and Wrongs (Princeton 2008), Justice in Love (Eerdmans 2011), Understanding Liberal Democracy (Oxford, 2012), Journey toward Justice (Baker 2013), The God We Worship (Eerdmans 2015), and Art Rethought (Oxford 2015).
He taught philosophy at Calvin College from 1959 to 1989, and was on the faculty of Yale Divinity School and the Yale philosophy department from 1989 until he retired at the end of 2001. He has been President of the American Philosophical Association (Central Division) and President of the Society of Christian Philosophers. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among the named lectures he has given are the Wilde Lectures at Oxford University, the Gifford Lectures at St Andrews University, and the Taylor Lectures at Yale.
Paul C. Vitz is Professor and Senior Scholar at the Institute for Psychological Sciences, a Catholic Graduate School in Arlington, VA. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at New York University.
His work is focused on the integration of Christian theology and psychology, breaking from the secular humanism and post-modern relativism prevalent today. Dr. Vitz’s books include Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship; Sigmund Freud’s Christian Unconscious; Modern Art and Modern Science: The Parallel Analysis of Vision; and Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism and has published many articles and essays.
He is currently working with his colleagues at IPS/Divine Mercy University on a Catholic Christian Meta-Model of the person and personality integrating theology, philosophy and psychology with special reference to psychotherapy and counseling within a general Christian framework.
Junius Johnson is Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Baylor University. He is also a freelance writer and a musician. His specific interests include literature, philosophy, and theology.
He is author of two books, the forthcoming Patristic and Medieval Atonement Theory: A Guide to Research and Christ and Analogy: The Christocentric Metaphysics of Hans Urs von Balthasar.
Conference Artist & Pastor
Malcolm Guite is an Anglican priest; Chaplain & Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge University; a poet; and the lead singer and founder of the rock band Mystery Train.
Malcolm teaches Literature and Pastoral Theology for the Cambridge Federation of Theological Colleges. He is involved with a number of projects linking theology and the arts, and has published poetry, literary criticism and theology in various journals.
His books include nonfiction – Beholding the Glory and What Do Christians Believe? – and poetry – The Singing Bowl; Waiting on the Word: A Poem a Day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany; and The Word in the Wilderness: A Poem a Day for Lent and Easter. He contributed to The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis. As founder of the rock band, Mystery Train, he writes lyrics and performs on guitar and vocals.
Writers Workshop Session Leaders
Terry Glaspey is a writer, an editor, a creative mentor, and someone who finds various forms of art — painting, films, novels, poetry, and music — to be some of the places where he most deeply connects with God.
He has written over a dozen books, including 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: Fascinating Stories Behind Great Art, Music, Literature, and Film; Not a Tame Lion: The Spiritual Legacy of C.S. Lewis; The Prayers of Jane Austen; 25 Keys to Life-Changing Prayer; and Bible Basics for Everyone. Terry enjoys writing and speaking about a variety of topics including creativity and spirituality, the artistic heritage of the Christian faith, the writing of C.S. Lewis, and creative approaches to apologetics.
He serves on the board of directors of the Society to Explore and Record Church History. Terry has been the recipient of a number of awards, including a distinguished alumni award and the Advanced Speakers and Writers Editor of the Year award. He has a master’s degree in history from the University of Oregon, as well as undergraduate degrees emphasizing counseling and pastoral studies.
Lancia E. Smith is a Regional Representative for the C.S. Lewis Foundation, serving in a variety of capacities including our Program Planning Committee (various events), our Event Management Team (The C.S. Lewis Retreat), organizational development consulting, and official photographer for Foundation events.
Lancia writes on topics related to C.S. Lewis and arts intersecting culture. She hosts the website Cultivating the Good, the True and the Beautiful at lanciaesmith.com and is the founder of The Cultivating Project, a project highlighting spiritual and creative excellence in the lives of believing creatives. Lancia is currently writing two books related to the influence of faith-infused art in culture and the character formation of writers.
Lancia is also President and Co-Founder of an environmental consulting and engineering firm based in Denver CO. She has been photographing professionally for 30 years and spent many years in publishing and graphic design. Having served in church leadership capacities for more than 25 years, she has an extensive background in lay counseling in addiction recovery, bereavement, and women survivors of abuse.
Melanie Stiles is a Christian Life Coach, author, and speaker. She has accumulated hundreds of freelance bylines, authored two books specifically for writers, and frequently speaks at conferences, churches, and groups on topics relating to the journeys of Christian women, discipleship, and writing.
Her award-winning book, The Heart of a Ready Scribe: 52 Reflections for Writers, continues to be well received by the writing community. She has recently completed the second book of an intended six-part series titled, Let’s Write Devotionals!
Melanie offers services to other writers including editing, ghostwriting, book assessments and more. In addition, Melanie serves as a Life Coach with certifications through the American Association of Christian Counselors, and pairs with individuals or groups to assist in goal achievement. Her programs can be customized to fit individual or group needs.
Melanie spends her free time volunteering as a Lay Minister at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas and as the Writers Workshop Coordinator of the C.S. Lewis Foundation.
Breakout Session Leaders
Paul V. Sorrentino has been Director of Religious & Spiritual Life at Amherst College since 2000. He is also the Protestant Religious Advisor and advises the Multifaith Council.
Paul is ordained with the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (4Cs) and worked for InterVarsity as well as Amherst College. He is the author of Religious Pluralism: What Do College Students Think? and A Transforming Vision: Multiethnic Fellowship in college and in the Church.
As adjunct faculty at Bethel Seminary of the East he has taught Christianity and Culture, Culture & Ministry and Ethics. Paul previously worked as a crisis counselor and family therapist in Kalamazoo, Michigan and for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Maine and Massachusetts.
Brad Gornto is the President and Founder of Effectual Giving, a consulting firm that assists charitable organizations and philanthropic families across the country in the actual implementation of effective planning giving solutions.
Additionally, Brad also practices law throughout Central and North Florida through his law firm, Gornto Law, PLLC. For over 15 years, Brad’s law practice has practiced law in the areas of estate planning, business law, probate and trust administration, commercial real property transactions, wealth transfer tax planning and charitable tax-exempt organizations.
Brad’s current volunteer service includes serving as a member of the Florida State University Foundation Planned Giving Advisory Council in Tallahassee, Florida; the President and a member of the Board of Directors for The Partnership for Philanthropic Planning of Greater Orlando, Inc.; Development Advisor for the C.S. Lewis College Foundation, Inc. based in Redlands, California; and Secretary and member of the Board of Directors for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida, Inc.
David Dowdy is an English Teacher at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Mount Hermon, Massachusetts.
He has been awarded the Parents Council Award for Excellence in Teaching; a Litchard Faculty Fellowship; a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Studies Grant in French Literature; and a Kosciusco Foundation grant to study Polish literature, history, and art at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. He has lectured and written on Flannery O’Connor and Mark Twain.
He also serves Northfield Mount Hermon students as the Catholic Student’s Advisor.
Kirk Manton is Director of Production Services at Trinity Fellowship in Amarillo, Texas. He also is a Regional Representative for the C.S. Lewis Foundation, serving in a variety of capacities including the Program Planning Committee, the Event Management Team, and as Production & Scheduling Manager for various programs.
Kirk served the local church as a youth pastor for over 10 years. Since that time he has worked in the film and video production and the event production industry. He trained and worked for years on all kinds of film and video projects as a freelance lighting technician and he help found and manage a film lighting rental company in Orange County California. Kirk then transitioned into event production managing for companies such as The Disney Hotel and The Amarillo Civic Center before his current position at Trinity Fellowship.
He also teaches and is about to publish a book of poetry and devotional medications called, The Grace of Rain: Poetry and more to quiet the noise.
* Program schedule, program elements, and speaker/artist lineup is subject to change.