ACU’s Summit brings “Aliens & Light” to campus, Sept. 19-22

Posted September 13, 2010

Abilene Christian University will present the 104th Summit, Sept. 19-22, with the theme, “Aliens & Light: Finding God in the Darkness.” Students, church leaders, faculty and visitors will gather on ACU's campus for conversation about real world issues discussed from the perspective of faith.

Summit"This year's theme issues a challenge to the church: Follow Jesus out into the darkness of the world and expect to find God there,” says Brady Bryce, director of Ministry Events.

For the second year in a row, featured and theme speakers will be video streamed live online at the Summit website,  During the event, an interactive web page will make use of social media, text messaging and email to allow online participation.

Featured guest speakers for this year include:

  • James Bryan Smith, author of Good and Beautiful God and co-founder (along with Richard Foster) of Renovare
  • Kathleen Norris, author of Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life as well as New York Times bestsellers "Dakota" and "Cloister Walk"
  • Shane Claiborne, author of Irresistible Revolution and Follow Me to Freedom

One of the opening events of Summit will be Sunday night's “Longing for Glory: An Evening of Song,” a performance of music from Broadway by Stephen and Juliette Trafton. Summit organizers say it will be a celebration of the goodness of God’s creation and a time to ponder the brokenness within it. Julie (Miller '06) Trafton has played Christine on the national tour of The Phantom of the Opera, and Stephen played Raoul on the nation tour of The Phantom of the Opera. He was also in the original Broadway revival of Les Miserables.

John Perkins, American civil rights activist and co-author of Follow Me to Freedom, ACU’s First Year Common Reading book, will speak to ACU freshmen Cornerstone classes at 10 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. on Monday in Cullen Auditorium (NOTE: Limited seating).

Also Monday: On the five-year anniversary of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Summit presents Kimberly Rivers Roberts’ film, Trouble the Water, winner of the Sundance Film Festival Documentary of the Year Award. The film will be shown at 4 p.m. in Cullen Auditorium. Roberts will speak and answer questions about the film that evening at an 8:30 p.m. Coffee House Conversation in the Brown Library Learning Commons.

Theme speakers for Summit include:

  • Rick Atchley, from North Richand Hills, Texas
  • Josh Ross, from Memphis, Tenn.
  • Andy Wall, from Thousand Oaks, Calif.
  • Reg Cox, from Lakewood, Colo.
  • Tyson Moore, from Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Charlton Taylor, from Midland
  • Eddie Sharp, from Austin

Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. the ACU Department of Music presents “Darkness and Light,” a music performance in the Williams Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.

Wednesday evening will feature an acoustic performance from GMA Dove Award winner Derek Webb. The concert at 8:30 p.m. in Moody Coliseum will bring Summit to a close and include a coffee house conversation with Shane Claiborne.  There are plenty of seats available for both events and the public is welcome at no charge.

There will be hundreds of classes held throughout the day covering a wide spectrum of topics (art, politics, sexuality, faith and ministry) led by diverse speakers from around the world. Among the class sessions: a Muslim professor from the University of Houston, Dr. Ibrahim Sumer, and a Christian professor from ACU, Dr. Jeff Childers, will each pose three questions to each other.  Participants will learn what Christians wonder about Islam and what Muslims wonder about Christianity.

All events are free and open to the community, yet all participants are asked to register online at or in person at Summit Headquarters in the Teague Special Events Center.  You may also visit the site for information about live streaming.