Archive / History

35 years ago a group of concerned church folk (laity, ordained, teachers) organized a colloquy at the Craigville Conference Center to explore basic theological matters in a protestant denomination, the United Church of Christ (UCC). The idea of a gathering to intensely and intentionally engage topical issues took hold.

Since 1984, yearly gatherings along similar lines have considered the subjects listed below. These efforts have expanded well beyond the UCC and attracts people from around the country and from many denominations. We gather for nearly four days of lively dialogue with presenters and in small group discussion, as well as at meals. Colloquy is a time that refreshes the mind and soul, framed by prayer, study and worship.


Latest years coming …


2011: God of Grace and God of Story: When Life and Theology Intertwine

Keynoter: C. Michael Curtis, senior editor, Atlantic Magazine, ed., God: Stories
Bible reflection leader:
William Herzog, Andover Newton

2010: Surprised by Grace in Modern Film: Training the Eyes of Faith

Keynoter: Lee Barrett, professor of theology, Lancaster Theological Seminary
Bible reflection leader: William Herzog, Andover Newton

Film List from the July 2010 Craigville Theological Colloquy

In America Amistead Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Invictus Gran Torino Grand Canyon
Simon Birch Life is Beautiful Departures (Japanese)
The Visitor Shoes (Iranian) Promises (Israeli)
Blindside Millions (Irish) The Kite Runner
The Color Purple Lars and the Real Girl Watership Down
The Soloist Simply Ballroom Narnia
Heat and Dust (Indian) Rachida (Algerian) The Color of Paradise
Crash Rebel Without a Cause The Breakfast Club
O God! The Apostle Gallipoli
The Nephew The Road Warrior ET
Star Trek 5: The Search for God Paradise Road Jesus of Montreal
Babette’s Feast Big Eden Cinema Paradiso
In and Out On the Beach Fail Safe
Invasion of the Body-snatchers (3rd version) The Man Who Fell to Earth AI: Artificial Intelligence
Clockwork Orange Man of La Mancha The Majestic
The Seventh Seal The Insider White Oleander
Gossip Mystic River Billy Elliot
Monsoon Wedding Please Give Tender Mercies
The Thin Red Line The Song of Bernadette Spiderman III
Earth: The Biography The River Runs Through IT The Notebook
The Horse Whisperer Antwone Fisher The Emperor’s Club


2009: Spirituality and the Holy Spirit: A New Awakening for the Church?

Presenters: Mark Burrows, Andover Newton Theological School; Andy Lang, UCC staff
Bible reflection leader: William Herzog, Andover Newton

2008: God’s Shalom: Confronting the Many Faces of Violence

Keynoter: Lee Barrett, Lancaster Theological Seminary
Presenter: Diane Kessler, director, MASS Council of Churches

2007: In a World of Violence and Suffering, How Can We Believe in an Almighty and All-loving God?

Keynoter: David Bentley Hart, author The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami?
Presenter: Margaret B. Hess
Pastoral reflector: Dale Rosenberger

2006: Christians and Muslims: Commonalities and Particularities

Keynoter: Mark Hanson, well-known Lutheran expert on Islam
Presenters: missionary Frederick Downs and Karim Kudhari, Muslim leader, with a Christian pastor, Paul Sangree and Muslim Imam interpreting their scriptures

2005: Christ Will Come Again: Reclaiming Eschatology

Featuring Greg Carey from Lancaster Seminary, A&E consultant on the subject, and John Jefferson Davis from Gordon Conwell who has written extensively on eschatology

2004: Sound Teaching: Responding to God’s Mighty Claim on Our Whole Life

(20th anniversary colloquy echoing the theme of Colloquy I on the Barmen Declaration)

Presenters: John Thomas, UCC president, Willis Elliott (one of the colloquy founders), Lydia Veliko, UCC ecumenical officer, and Carl Rasmussen lay theologian from the Wisconsin Conference

2003: Christian Solidarity in a Fragmented World: How Can We All Come To the Table?

Keynoter: Thomas Best, World Council of Churches; Ed O’Flaherty, Boston diocese ecumenical officer as participant-observer
Presenter: Mark Burrows, Andover Newton Theological School

2002: Christian Worship and Witness in Our Times

Keynoter: Marva Dawn, author
Observer: Demetrious Demopolos, Eastern Orthodox theologian

2001: Christian Faith and Genetics Ethics

Keynoter: Ron Cole-Turner, Pittsburgh Seminary and UCC theologian

2000: How is Christ Formed in Us Today? Christian Formation in a Post-Christian Culture

Keynoters: UCC pastors Martin Copenhaver and Tony Robinson

1999: How Shall we Understand Jesus as Savior Now?

Keynoters: Fred Trost (co-founder of the colloquies and then leader of Confessing Christ) and Bennie Whiten of the Confessing Christ national steering committee (both Conference Ministers)

1998: Faithful and Powerful Language in Preaching, Prayer and Liturgy

Presenters: Church historian Christopher Chase and Elsabeth Hilke, editor of Vol. VI of the Living Theological Heritage of the UCC series (this one on ecumenism)

1997: Resurrection and Christian Burial

Keynoter: Lee Barrett, Lancaster Seminary
Presenter: Joseph Bassett, one of the co-founders of the colloquies

1996: How Can We be Both Prophetic and Catholic?

Keynoter: Paul Crow
Presenter: Diane Kessler (a colloquy co-founder)

1995: The Baptismal Formula: Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

Keynoter: Ellen Charry, (then) Perkins Theological Seminary, (now) Princeton Theological Seminary

1994: The Essentials of the Church Confident

Keynoter: Leander Keck, New Testament scholar and author of the best-selling The Church Confident

1993: Theological Standards for Ministry in the United Church of Christ

Considering the Preamble to the Constitution and ordination service in UCC Book of Worship.
Commentators: Willis Elliott and Gabriel Fackre.
Grassroots presenters: pastors Jame Behrendt ,Charles Ford and Jeffrey Roth.

1992: Who Do You Say I Am? Who is Jesus Christ for Us Today?

Keynoter: Mark Heim, Andover Newton Theological School
Lutheran observer: Joseph Burgess, former ecumenical officer of the LCA

1991: The Holy Spirit in Creation, Truth and Power

Presenters: Thomas Dipko, Lewellyn Smith (recent returnees from the World Council of Churches meeting in Canberra, Australia on this subject)
Ecumenical observer: Samuel Sullivan

1990: Justification and Justice: Good News and Good Works

Keynoters: Lutheran Carter Lindberg and Charles Hambrick-Stowe;
Lutheran observer, William Rusch

1989: Human Beginnings: Deciding About Life in the Presence of God

Presenters: Reformed scholar Max Stackhouse and Roman Catholic scholar Donna Manochio working with the Reformed/Roman Catholic document on abortion

1988: Baptism in the United Church of Christ

Focusing on UCC heritage documents
Ecumenical observer: theologian Catherine LaCugna, Roman Catholic

1987: Eucharist/Communion in the United Church of Christ

Presenters: Howard Paine (key liturgical resource for the 1974 UCC Hymnal services), layperson Anne Fries, pastors: Allen Happe and Rosemary Morris

1986: The Ministry of the Whole People of God

Presenters/reporters: pastors Fanny Erickson, Ron Farr, Martha Kreibel, Arnold Kenseth

1985: Scripture/Word in the United Church of Christ

Presenters: Percel Alston, Sharon Ringe, Lawrence Wood, Charles Harper, Barbara Gerlach, William Nigh

1984: The United Church as a Confessing Church Today

Presenters: John Shetler, Joseph Bassett, Frederick Trost and Willis Elliott on the four UCC streams, Orlando Costas on the Third World connection, Gabriel Fackre on the state of the Church, Diane Kessler on UCC ecumenism, Avery Post bringing greetings as UCC president