National Stage, the CSC and a Quilt (and some answers about CALC)

May 17, 2022

On the evening of May 23 Dr. Catherine Meeks and David Brooks, together at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., will address the topic “Love Thy Neighbor: Building Stronger Communities.” The dialogue will be live streamed around the world.

I am alerting you to this event for two reasons. The first is Brooks and Meeks’ connection to the CSC. The second is the depth and importance of their subject.

You will recall that Brooks delivered the closing plenary at the 2019 CSC at LCU. Meeks will deliver the closing plenary at this year’s CSC. But the connection goes far beyond sharing a similar CSC role.

More than a bridge for our annual conference, their specific subject (“Love Thy Neighbor: Building Stronger Communities”) will be examined during this year’s CSC, and Meeks’ plenary will launch us toward our theme for 2023, “What is our Future?”

In other words, CSC plenary speakers are on the national stage and the CSC functions as the venue to both deepen and continue their essential conversation, “stimulating networks of scholarly dialogue and collaboration” around the Beloved Community.

Meeks is no stranger to the CSC, having presented in some capacity nearly every year since 2014. This year, our trusted friend and colleague will play her most significant role to date.

You can register to watch the National Cathedral event here.

And you can register for the CSC here.

To symbolize and connect all of these parts, CSC participants will be creating a quilt during the conference. Inspired by Meeks’ address, “Rags of Love in the Quilting Circle: A Metaphor for Transforming Oppressive Systems,” participation in the creation of a quilt will help stimulate the creative work of imagining a livable world.

Throughout history rags of clothes and other items that were once loved have been used by quilters to produce some of our best art work. The quilters imagine the transformation of the rags as they engage the task of making a beautiful quilt. Thus, the quilting metaphor helps explore the challenge lying before humanity: to create a sustainable world by bringing our fragmented wounded selves and systems to the circle of healing.

The central image of the quilt will be comprised of multi-colored scraps of cloth, selected by conference attendees for inclusion in the finished product and put together using improvisational piecing. 

Attendees who wish to contribute a piece of cloth, meaningful to them, should select a piece that is colorful and at least 2 inches by 2 inches in size (although it does not have to be square). Woven cotton fabric is preferred, but we can use any fabric that can be ironed with a hot iron. These will be collected at registration.

Opportunities to participate in sewing and piecing the quilt together will be available in the area adjacent to the Shinn lobby. Sewing machines, fabric, notions, irons and ironing boards will be set up there. Sewing participation times are 7:00-6:00 each day.

For those who forget to bring the cloth? Mary Lou Hutson assures, “We will have lots of choices available for anyone who did not bring one.”

The CSC quilt will symbolize the new earth we hope conference attendees will be inspired to attain. It will be for all of us, a wonderful interdisciplinary experience. The finished product will adorn the stage during Meeks’ closing plenary and the image will become backdrop for the 2023 theme, “What is our Future?”


I am often asked, “What is CALC?”

The short answer is that CALC is the Christian Academic Leaders Conference.

The second oft asked question, “How is CALC connected to the CSC?”

The background to the answer lies in The Christian Scholars’ Conference vision: The CSC encourages inclusive partnerships that help fulfill our vision of scholarly collaboration and Christian community.

More on CALC: each year just immediately prior to the CSC, the deans and provosts from Church of Christ affiliated universities meet to talk about issues in Christian higher education, reflect on the work they are called to do, and enjoy a time of fellowship and encouragement. 

This year's meeting will be on Lipscomb’s campus the afternoon of June 7 and morning of June 8 - immediately preceding the Christian Scholars’ Conference.   

The focus for the 2022 CALC meeting will be resilience - from a spiritual, academic, and leadership perspective.  Rick Ostrander will be joining the deans and provosts to facilitate conversations. You might know Rick from his ACU Press book, Why College Matters to God. Rick has been an academic dean at John Brown University (Siloam Springs, AR), provost at Cornerstone University (Grand Rapids, MI), and is now leading new program development at Westmont College (Santa Barbara, CA). Participants will also talk about student resilience with a panel of Student Life representatives from a variety of schools. 

These are important topics, especially right now, and to that end the CALC leadership team extends a special invitation for department chairs to join the conversation. 

The CSC Registration Link

provides you access to register for CALC and CALC registration covers meals and the speaker's honorarium.

This year CALC will meet from 1:00-5:00 on Tuesday afternoon, share a meal together after discussions, and reconvene for breakfast and a working session Wednesday morning at 8:30. The Christian Scholars Conference begins that morning, so CALC will conclude in time to attend the Opening Ceremonies and hear the Pack Plenary speaker, Katharine Hayhoe. On behalf of the CALC Leadership team, I encourage provosts, deans and department chairs from the Church of Christ Universities to make plans to attend... now that everyone knows the what and the why of CALC.