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ACU hosts conference on Christianity and literature Sept. 28-30

Abilene Christian University will host the Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature Thursday through Saturday, in conjunction with ACU's Inscription Conference.

More than 100 educators are scheduled to attend, said Dr. Nancy Shankle, chair of ACU's Department of English.

The Conference on Christianity and Literature, allied with the Modern Language Association, is one of the preeminent interdisciplinary societies dedicated to exploring the connections between Christianity and the literary arts, said Dr. William Rankin, associate professor of English and president of the Southwest Region Conference on Christianity and Literature.

"CCL seeks to explore these connections, not only through literary scholarship, but also through creative writing and artistic expression," said Rankin.

Inscription, a conference devoted to teachers, writers and readers of Christian writing, rhetoric and literature, will offer Christian English professors specific methods and strategies for actively bringing faith into the teacher-learning process.

"The Inscription Conference came into being when we noticed that while conferences such as Art & Soul at Baylor and the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College do a fine job of showcasing creative writers and their works, no one offers a conference specifically for Christian educators to explore the connections of faith and the study of English with an emphasis on pedagogy," said Dr. Nancy Shankle, ACU professor and chair of the department of English.

The theme for the joint conference is "Learning|Faith in the English Classroom." Three plenary speakers and 70 presenters from more than 45 schools across the nation will explore this theme through presentations, workshops and panel discussions held on the ACU campus.

The three key speakers include:  Dr. Jill Baumgaertner, dean of humanities and theological studies at Wheaton College; Dr. David Lytle Jeffrey, distinguished professor of literature and humanities at Baylor University; and Dr. David Naugle, professor and chair of philosophy at Dallas Baptist University.

Dr. Royce Money, president of ACU, will present the opening remarks and welcome attendees to the event. Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen, ACU provost, will facilitate a forum discussion called "Beyond Integration: A Faith and Learning Dialogue."

Another highlight of the conference will be a poetry reading Thursday at 8:45 p.m. titled "Live from Abilene: Proceedings of the Trilateral Poetry Commission." This event, held in the Williams Performing Arts Center atrium, will feature three nationally distinguished poets: Jill Baumgaertner from Wheaton College, Anna Stephanek also from Wheaton, and Paul Willis from Westmont College. They will read from some of their personal works.

"This is a rare opportunity to experience not only the best in poetry, but a banquet table of variety," said Al Haley, writer-in-residence at ACU. "Each of these poets brings a different and very real strength to the art form.  I’m expecting to be thoroughly entertained."

Those interested in the conference can get more information and register at