ACU professor to teach Russians to write for Christian publications

For Immediate Release
April 24, 2000


Tom Craig, Director of Media and Community Relations
(915) 674-2692

ABILENE, Texas -- With the spring semester nearing its end at Abilene Christian University, Dr. Darryl Tippens, professor of English, has already written his final exams. He won't be administering them himself, though. He's leaving campus a week early to go to Russia.

Tippens will leave for St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, April 26, to teach a workshop for Russian Christians concerning how to write about matters of faith in a way so they will be published in Russian print media outlets.

The Russian conference will take place May 1-7, and Tippens' short course will extend from May 1 to May 4. He will return after that, arriving in Abilene May 6.

Nine years ago Tippens said he wrote a series of six articles to evangelize Russians. The articles were published in Russian newspapers and magazines across the country and generated huge interest in the Gospel.

Now, Tippens said, "I'll be training Christian writers to write for both Christian publications and the secular press."

The seven-day conference is called Conference 2000 and sponsored by six Russian Churches of Christ in the St. Petersburg area.

More than 420 Christians have registered for the conference from 46 churches in Russia, Belarus, Estonia, Ukraine, the United States and Canada.

The theme of the conference is "I Will Build My Church," based on Jesus' words in Matthew 16:18. Tippens' Christian Writer's Seminar will include the basic principles of writing to help Russians reach the non-Christian audience.

The conference will be conducted in the suburban village of Repino, 45 minutes north of St. Petersburg. The conference center is located in the forest and a 10-minute walk from the beaches of the Gulf of Finland.

Tippens said his involvement with Conference 2000 and Russian evangelism is "particularly poignant" as he follows in the footsteps of the late Dr. Jack Welch.

Welch, who also was an ACU English professor, was in St. Petersburg presenting a two-week writing course in 1996 that began the effort to help Christian writers emerge in Russia. One day before he was to leave St. Petersburg for Abilene, he died of an apparent heart attack.

Tippens, Welch and Dr. Stephen Weathers, assistant professor of English at ACU, collaborated to produce "Shadow & Light: Literature and the Life of Faith," a literary anthology to "celebrate great works of literature, both classic and modern, that explore the common frontier of spirituality and literature," Tippens said. The work includes fiction, essays, and poems by 48 writers on a variety of topics related to the moral and spiritual life.

Publication of this anthology in 1997 filled a gap in modern literary scholarship, Tippens said, noting that Tolstoy's short story, "How Much Land Does a Man Need?", which Irish novelist James Joyce called "the greatest story that the literature of the world knows," has rarely been included in recent textbooks designed for general undergraduate consumption.

Efforts such as those made by Tippens, Welch and Weathers have helped catapult ACU into a role as a national leader in Christian higher education. ACU is a large, globally diverse campus that attracts 4,600-plus students from more than 60 nations. ACU combines quality academics and a serious focus on Christ -- in daily chapel, in student-led devotionals and in the classrooms.

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Last update: April 24, 2000
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