Brethren in Christ Study Conferences

Brethren in Christ Study Conference 2023

The 2023 Brethren in Christ study conference will be held on November 3, 2023 in Phipps Admissions and Welcome Center Messiah Board of Trustees Room 310 at Messiah University.

The theme for this year's conference is "Singleness and the Church."

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About This Year's Conference

This conference is an attempt to engage in a larger discussion about singleness in the Church as a whole, and the Brethren in Christ in particular.  It will address such questions as:

  • How might we think more deeply about a Christian view of singleness?
  • How have we, particularly in the Brethren in Christ Church, thought about singleness in the past?
    • Where did we do well and where could we have done better?
    • What lessons ought we learn from our history?
  • What common issues are shared by the various strands of singleness?
  • How do the various experiences of singleness differ? For example, how is the experience of an unmarried young person different from an older widow/widower?
  • How do we do ministry and life together within the Church in light of what we have discussed?

Attending this conference is an opportunity to fulfill one Lifelong BIC Learning credit, an expectation for all Brethren in Christ pastors within each renewal period.

Major Conference Sessions and Speakers

"The Significance of Singleness: A Theological Vision for the Future of the Church."

Ministry Matters 

Dr. Christina Hitchcock

Dr. Christina Hitchcock is a Christian theologian who speaks on critical issues such as singleness, sexual ethics, slavery in America, Islam, and women in fiction. Her most recent publication, The Significance of Singleness (2018), was chosen one of the best theological books of the year by the Englewood Review of Books. She has also presented scholarly work interacting with theologians such as Macrina, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis and Stanley Hauerwas. Dr. Hitchcock serves as Professor of Theology at the University of Sioux Falls, where she has taught courses ranging from Christianity and Culture to Predestination to The Theology of Harry Potter. She has chaired various committees. She obtained her PhD from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, studying under Iain Torrance and Ian McFarland. There she did work on the American church, doing an in-depth examination of Puritanism and the theology of the American slaves, showing how these strands converged in the person of Martin Luther King, Jr. Before that she achieved degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Geneva College. Dr. Hitchcock spent her early years in Kansas and on the island of Cyprus. She currently lives in South Dakota with her husband and children. When not tending to them or the rabbits, she is an avid reader of children’s literature and historic fiction.

The Social Realities of Singleness Today

Dr. Paul Johns

Paul Johns, PhD, LMFT, CFLE is an associate professor and chair in the Human Development and Family Science Department at Messiah University. Paul is a 1996 graduate of Messiah College and has taught for 20 years in the HDFS Department, as well as a stint developing and teaching in the graduate counseling program. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified family life educator having practiced therapy in various settings and conducted numerous marriage enrichment seminars. Paul’s primary areas of interest are interpersonal trust, relational attachment, integration of theology in learning and practice, and the practice of marriage and family therapy.

Table Discussions

This session will offer a facilitated opportunity to reflect on and discuss the conference theme and sessions in both small and large groups.