Announcing our first Director of Spiritual Formation: Bill Boyd

We are excited to announce that Bill Boyd will be joining our team on July 1, 2019 as Director of Spiritual Formation.

The NC Study Center has grown rapidly over the past three and a half years. As more people and ministries utilize our resources (facilities and programs), the danger is that our impact will become increasingly thin. We desire for students and faculty to grow in Christ intellectually, spiritually, and in mission. This kind of impact can be supported by seminars and speakers but at ground level it will always be relational. After strategically considering our growth and the needs of the UNC community, our board and team decided to prioritize hiring mature new staff in spiritual formation. We have amazing opportunities to shape lives, as over 125 visitors a day drop in for conversation, classes, and relaxation.

The DSF will direct the NC Study Center’s spiritual formation efforts by working directly with students, training staff, and helping the Study Center develop a vision for Christ-like maturity. Day-to-day this will involve one-on-ones, small group discussions, and occasional seminars and talks. The DSF will also teach our staff to make the most of the opportunities we are already creating in our daily rhythms and other gatherings. Our goal is no less than to form students in the image of Christ by helping them grow in knowledge, wisdom, and love.

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Bill Boyd will be coming to us after having worked in spiritual formation in different settings for over three decades - on college campuses, in churches, and at Alpine Camp for Boys. A native of Mississippi and an ordained PCA minister, Bill launched Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at UT Austin before planting All Saints Austin and later pastoring at Covenant Presbyterian in Birmingham, AL. Bill has worked extensively in spiritual formation and has given many sermons and lectures on associated topics around the world.

Please join us in praying for Bill, his wife Martha, and their four children (two in college this Fall of 2019), as they prepare to join us in North Carolina. May the Lord continue his beautiful work in Chapel Hill and in the lives of students through them!

Summer 2019 Announcements

It’s the start of Spring Break here in Chapel Hill, and at the Study Center we’re already getting ready for summer! The two main programs we’re most excited about, back for their second summers, are Carolina Way Camp and the Wilberforce Civic Leadership Project. Whether you’re an incoming first-year, returning UNC student, or a community member supporting Christ’s work at UNC through Study Center, learn more about these programs below!

Carolina Way Camp

Last August, we hosted our first ever four-day camp for incoming first-year students. The camp’s success far exceeded our expectations, and we are so thankful to be back again this summer! Staff applications are now open for current students, and the camper registration form will be live soon. If you are an alum, community member or parent and would like to directly support the mission of CWC, learn more about how to do so here.

Wilberforce Civic Leadership Project

The Wilberforce Civic Leadership Project, or WCLP, is an opportunity for UNC students to gain paid, hands-on experience working and serving alongside faith-based nonprofits in Kinston, NC. Last summer, three students interned with Hope Restorations. Through tangible acts of service and deeply relational experiences, students were able to grow individually, spiritually, and vocationally. This summer, we’re excited to partner again with Hope Restorations, as well as Hope Preparatory School! Current students can learn more and apply here.

Please join us in prayer that students would finish the 2018-19 school year strong, as we prepare for big things happening this summer, and that Christ’s love would continue to be seen and known in Chapel Hill!

Carolina Way Camp Recap

Fall classes began at UNC on August 21, but the North Carolina Study Center started the year a little early with its inaugural Carolina Way Camp. 110 incoming first-years joined 30 student counselors and volunteers at Camp Thunderbird in Lake Wylie, SC to spend four days forming Christian community before starting their time at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Though the camp lasted four days, time flew by as students spent time swimming, paddle boarding, and even participating in an all camp dance party. NC Study Center staff and partner campus ministries challenged students gain a larger view of Jesus Christ, equipping them with a faith that will address their nagging doubts, deepest longings and highest hopes. Students enjoyed the engaging, applicable sessions along with the designated cabin discussion that followed and counselors shared encouraging stories of fellowship and prayer flowing throughout all of camp.

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Back on campus, the effects are already being felt as freshmen now have a baseline community of 100-plus friends to share life with:

I get to live in community with these people for the next four years,” said first-year Holly Sherburne.  “A four-year-long ‘camp high’ doesn’t fade, it becomes a lifestyle. Walking with my new friends to class and passing them in the quad, it is reassuring to know that I have people to fall back on, and also that these people are also going into the heart of campus and shining as a light for Jesus.

Excitement is high in Chapel Hill as the campus community wait expectantly for all of the good that the Lord will accomplish in the lives of these first years and more.

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We are grateful for the donors who made this experience possible a remarkable number of students (with registration costs of only $100), and for the student leaders and volunteers who made this year's camp so special.

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Click here to see our camp photo album on Facebook!

Triangle Riff 2018 Recap

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“What is a human being?” 

On the surface this may seem like a fairly straightforward question, but when you probe it deeper, things quickly get more complicated. In a university setting, how a person answers this question often depends on the operating assumptions of his or her field. In economics, a human being is viewed as a rational economic agent. In biology, a human being is approached as a complex composite of cells, tissues and organ systems (to grossly oversimplify things). In sociology, a human being is primarily understood as a social agent contributing to larger institutions and societal patterns. 

Earlier this month, the NC Study Center brought together seventeen faculty members from UNC, Duke, NC State and Wake Forest to explore how Scripture and Christian thinkers throughout the ages have traditionally responded to the question, “What is a human being?” We partnered with UNC's Intervarsity Graduate and Faculty Ministries, the Duke Center for Christianity and Scholarship, and The Veritas Forum to host the event, the 2018 Triangle Riff Faculty Conference.

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Through teaching from New Testament professor Dr. Ross Wagner and Reverend Allan Poole along with breakout discussion sessions, faculty members were challenged to grapple with the Christian doctrine of imago dei, the image of God.  What does it mean to be made in the image of God? What are the implications of this doctrine for academic thought within the range of disciplines?  How would our work in the university look different if we held this truth clearly in front of us?

After two days of prayer, fellowship and engaging with big questions, the conference concluded with a celebratory dinner and the group dispersed. Our hope, however, is that the theological insights, practical takeaways and relationships formed at the conference will remain for a long time to come.

The following Monday, we returned to work with an email in our inboxes from a faculty attendee that contained this excerpt: 

“I was deeply moved both by the lessons on our identities as image bearers, as well as the wonderful personal interactions I had with the other faculty....Our new graduate students arrived on Monday, and as they filed into the seminar room, they all seemed to glow a little brighter as I recognized them as each bearing God’s uniquely human stamp." 

Amen!

Matt Hoehn
Director of Christian Thought

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To see more photos from the event, please visit our Facebook page here.

Announcing our first Senior Faculty Fellow: Dr. C. Dianne Martin

We are thrilled to announce that Dr. C. Dianne Martin has accepted our invitation to serve as the first ever Senior Faculty Fellow of the NC Study Center! Dr. Martin is a close friend of ours, having participated in numerous past seminars, served as a panelist at the 2017 Wilberforce Conference, and taken it upon herself to meet with and mentor many undergraduate students.

Senior Faculty Fellows are carefully selected UNC professors who put their academic discipline into conversation with Christian faith and theology. As Senior Faculty Fellows, they teach seminar classes at the NC Study Center, make themselves available to meet with students during office hours, and offer input into other programming. This fall, Dr. Martin will be leading a seminar called: ‘Technological Immortality: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.’ Through film analysis, group readings, and small-group discussion, this seminar will invite students to consider emerging trends in technology (e.g. artificial intelligence, transhumanism) from the lens of Christian ethics.

Dr. Martin presenting at the 2017 Wilberforce Conference on Robots & the Theology of Personhood.

Dr. Martin presenting at the 2017 Wilberforce Conference on Robots & the Theology of Personhood.

Dr. C. Dianne Martin is a computer scientist and the former Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at George Washington University. She now teaches courses through the UNC Department of Computer Science and the School of Information and Library Sciences. In the 1960s, Dr. Martin was a programmer for IBM on the Apollo space project. She wrote programs that helped make possible the first moon landing in 1969. During her distinguished career, she was also a program director at the National Science Foundation from 1998 to 2000, chief policy officer at GeoTrust from 2000 to 2001, and chair of the GWU computer science department from 2002 to 2005. She attends Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Chapel Hill, NC.

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If you are interested in participating in Dr. Martin's 'Technological Immortality: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places' seminar this fall, let us know HERE.