Second Global Congress on Sports and Christianity 

October 23-27, 2019

Hosted by Calvin College and Hope College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

After a very successful Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity, the Sport and Christianity Group is excited to announce that a Second Congress will take place in October of 2019.

A link to the Congress website can be found here.

The Second Global Congress on Sport and Christianity will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. It is being co-hosted by Calvin College and Hope College, and co-directed by Dr. Brian Bolt (Calvin College) and Dr. Chad Carlson (Hope College). The Congress will take place on Calvin College’s campus.

The tentative list of Keynote Speakers includes:

  • Loretta Claiborne, Special Olympian
  • Dr. Fred Johnson III, Professor of History, Hope College
  • Jessica Keating, University of Notre Dame
  • Dr. Scott Kretchmar, Professor Emeritus of Exercise and Sport Science, Penn State University
  • Tinyiko Maluleke, Professor of Theology
  • Dr. Andrew Parker, Professor in the School of Sport and Exercise, University of Gloucestershire, UK
  • Gary L. Thomas, Pastor, Author of Sacred Marriage 
  • Dr. Amber Warners, Professor of Kinesiology and Volleyball Coach, Calvin College
  • Dr. Nick J. Watson, Associate Professor in the School of Sport, York St John University, UK
  • Miroslav Volf, Professor of Theology, Yale University Divinity School

For a recap of the Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity, please visit our blog page.

Endorsements from the Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity

“What an intriguing idea to finally put athletics and Christianity into conversation. This promises to be a fascinating event.” – Stanley Hauerwas is considered by many to be one of the world’s most influential living theologians and was named “America’s Best Theologian” by Time Magazine in 2001.

“You cannot understand the contemporary world until you’ve grasped the place of sports within it. It is exercise, politics, business, social justice and injustice, drama, play, and even religion sometimes. How great to hear that leading Christian academics, ministries, and practitioners are gathering to think more deeply about how to shape the world of sports for the common good.  It could not have come at a more critical juncture in the history of sports.” – Mark Galli, editor, Christianity Today

“This global conference is an excellent opportunity to further explore and debate the connection of faith and sports. In sports chaplaincy we are experiencing increasing demand from professional sporting bodies, and it is vital that the church can be envisioned to meet sport where it is expressing a need.” – Richard Gamble, CEO, Sports Chaplaincy UK

“This Conference is an excellent way to bring together the various practitioners and disciplines of sport and Christianity.  The emphasis on the integrity of its enquiry should ensure that the Conference’s conclusions are taken seriously.” – Rt. Hon. Lord Mawhinney, former Shadow Home Secretary and Chairman of The Football League, Board Member, England 2018 FIFA World Cup Bid Team, and, Chairperson, More Than Gold.

“There are many ways to engage the soul, and sports, is one very important avenue in reviving and refreshing the heart of a person with a disability.  I’m so glad that sports will be given a solid ‘push’ in the church and beyond, helping many more Christians reach persons with disabilities through the joy of sports!” – Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder and CEO Joni and Friends International Disability Center, US

“After so many years of tremendous reflective achievements, it is time for their light to infuse an ever broader public awareness and practice. Sport is partly rigorous exercise and discipline, partly joy, partly self-denial, partly near-death in defeat, and in victory exultant life. To come from behind to win together, sport calls forth the most intense communion of heart and sweat in those determined to prevail. Sport casts light on ‘running the race’ (as Saint Paul said) — and also running the race of becoming thoroughly Christian. Sport and Christianity are different realities, of different ontological weights. But each has much in it by which to better the other. This first Global Congress is a great step forward in a long-term project.” – Professor Michael Novak. The late Professor Novak served as George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute (US) and was a former U.S. ambassador who authored over 45 books on theology, culture and philosophy.

“As a paralympian, my mission is to be the best I can be by practicing discipline, focus and self-control, while playing by the rules of sport. The World Congress on Sports and Christianity is an important and timely event for all those that are involved in sport, for example, athletes, coaches and academics, who wish to more fully  understand the relationship between sports and faith. To date, there has been very little, if any, reflection on the religious aspects of disability sport, so it is heartening to see a whole thematic strand devoted to the topic at this event”. – Anne-Wafula Strike MBE, two time paralympain (2004 and 2012), who has been recognized by Her Majesty the Queen for her athletic accomplishments and advocacy for those with disabilities and has spoken in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

“The distinctive contribution of this global Congress lies in the interplay between the two academic disciplines, which will provide much needed insights not only for the academics concerned but also for the general public. The Congress will draw a wide range of academics, practitioners and church leaders from various contexts to discuss and examine issues from interdisciplinary perspectives. I am convinced that this event will be a milestone in the furtherance of academic research as well as delivering practical wisdom for both sports and Christian communities.” – Professor Sebastian Kim, FRAS, Chair in Theology and Public Life, York St John University, UK, and Chief Editor, International Journal of Public Theology

“I am pleased to support plans for the Global Congress on Sports and Christianity scheduled for 2016.  The quality of participants promises to be outstanding, and the themes addressed by the congress will help to fill a large void in the humanities literature.  In our secular age, we know much about sport from a materialist and generally skeptical perspective.  This conference will help, in important ways, to complement that understanding.” – Professor Scott Kretchmar, Penn State University, US, is past President of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport

“Today’s challenges demand that we move beyond our traditional disciplinary strengths and seek out complementary knowledge and expertise in other fields and in collaboration with partners across the world. The relationship between sports, Christianity and religion more generally, provides us with an exciting opportunity to do just that- advance, promote and engage together to provide a better understanding of the world in which we live in as we strive to make it a better place.” – Professor Grant Jarvie, Chair of Sport, University of Edinburgh, UK, and international advisor to UNESCO.