First Mondays: more than a community block

Lydia Marcus – Staff Writer

What would bring critically acclaimed speakers and writers such as Rev. Tony Campolo, James Schaap, and Dr. Nancy Pearcey to a small college in northwestern Iowa? Dordt’s First Monday Speaker Series.

“The vision of the First Monday Speaker Series (FMSS) is to bring people to campus who will challenge us and the broader community to ‘stretch our imaginations, grow our understanding, and engage our world deeply and differently,’” said philosophy professor Neal DeRoo, fellow of the Andreas Center for Reformed Scholarship and Service.

The Andreas Center, in conjunction with Dordt’s co-curricular committee, has coordinated and sponsored the FMSS since 2009.

“At the Andreas Center, we think this fits well with our desire to inspire people to live in healthy relationships with God and with creation, both by helping us better understand what these “healthy” relationships might look like and by inspiring us to then live in those ways,” said professor DeRoo.

Every year, the Andreas Center and the co-curricular committee compose a list of six high-quality speakers. Pastor Aaron Baart, along with professor DeRoo and the co-curricular committee, have chosen this year’s speakers.

Professor DeRoo says, “We try to get speakers who will help us think more deeply and clearly about how God’s will, expressed in God’s Word and God’s world, should shape how we live in a variety of different kinds of relationships (student, friend, employee, nurse, farmer, neighbor, etc.) and those who will help us understand the pressing issues facing us in the world today.”

The next individual in this year’s series, Sara Gerritsma-DeMoor, will speak on October 6. Ms. Derritsma-DeMoor is one of four CRC campus pastors at the University of Toronto. She is also on the Christian Reformed Board of Home Missions and the Executive Committee of the Christian Reformed Campus Ministry Association.First mondays

Mr. Rikk Watts will speak on November 3. Mr. Watts has worked for an organization engaged in providing Christian awareness initiatives in public schools and rehabilitation programs for the urban poor. He was also a founding member of a major Australian Christian magazine called On Being. Watts has served as a professor at Regent College (Canada), Gordon-Cromwell University, Wycliffe Hall (United Kingdom), Latrobe University (Australia), and the Bible College of Victoria (Australia).

Students are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the First Monday Speaker Series to gain insight from individuals who strive to live lives of obedience.

Mr. Malcolm deKryger will speak on March 2. Mr. deKryger is the president and part-owner of Bellstra Milling Co. He works to decrease the disconnect between the producer and the consumer by allowing consumers to see and experience a large-scale pig farm. Mr. deKryger is on the Indiana State Department of Agriculture Board and the Dean’s Advisory Council at Purdue University.

Ms. Cristena Cleveland will speak on April 6. Ms. Cleveland is a social psychologist who has a passion for overcoming cultural divisions. This August, Ms. Cleveland became the associate professor of reconciliation studies at Bethel University. Ms. Cleveland is the author of several scholarly articles and a book entitled Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart.

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