News Release: Religion and Ethics

Jun. 26,  2009

Emory Hosts Youth Theological Summer Academy

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Forty-five rising high school seniors are gathering at Emory University's Candler School of Theology for the 2009 Youth Theological Initiative (YTI) Summer Academy, an intensive, residential program of justice-seeking theology education for young people. The academy, which takes place June 27-July 18, is held on the Emory campus and at various sites around Atlanta.

"Since YTI’s Summer Academy began in 1993 through a grant from the Lilly Endowment, more than 850 rising high school seniors have participated," says Elizabeth Corrie, director of YTI. Students are recruited through church congregations, schools, academy alumni and Emory's admissions office. The program strives for gender balance, racial and ethnic diversity, and denominational variety, says Corrie.

"It's a formative and transformative experience for participants, who live in dormitories, study theology and faith in a way most never have before, and meet peers who have backgrounds vastly different from their own," says Corrie. The 2009 class includes about 16 United Methodists, 12-14 Baptists, five Roman Catholics, and two youths from the Methodist Church of the Bahamas.

In addition to taking classes, students engage in ecumenical worship, attend workshops with Candler faculty, work with agencies in the Atlanta community, and build intentional community with one another.

The 2009 academy will feature a special program exploring ethical issues, including ecology and environmental justice; racial justice and civil rights; and migration, immigration and labor. The program will include visits to historic sites in Atlanta that place the issues in a broader context and volunteering with local organizations and Christian communities that are responding meaningfully to these challenges today.

Participants also will engage in interfaith dialogue and participate in a “Day of Interfaith Youth Service” with an additional 20-40 youth from the Muslim and Jewish communities on July 13.

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