OC hosts noted authors for intergenerational faith event

Dr. John Westerhoff and Dr. Holly Allen
Dr. John Westerhoff and Dr. Holly Allen

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Two leading experts in spiritual development will be the featured speakers at the third-annual Intergenerational Faith Center Dialogues at Oklahoma Christian University (OC) on April 1.

John Westerhoff, author of the classic book, Will Our Children Have Faith?, and Holly Allen, author of Intergenerational Christian Formation: Bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community and Worship, will share their insights at this special event, which is free and open to the public.

The event begins at 7 p.m. in OC’s Judd Theatre. Free tickets can be ordered online at www.oc.edu/ifc or by calling (405) 425-5370.

“This will be a unique opportunity to hear one of Christian education’s original voices in spiritual formation and a fresh new voice in intergenerational spiritual formation,” said IFC co-director Dudley Chancey, a professor of youth and family ministry at Oklahoma Christian. “Dr. Westerhoff and Dr. Allen both will give past, present, and future perspectives on the age-old question, ‘Will our children have faith?’”

Westerhoff is a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University. He taught at Harvard before serving as a professor at the Duke University Divinity School for 20 years. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1974, and most recently served as priest associate, resident theologian, and teacher at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Ga.

He has authored or co-authored 35 books. Will Our Children Have Faith? has been used extensively in college and seminary religious education classes since it was originally published in 1976. In this book, Westerhoff advocates experiential faith formation within families, churches, and schools rather than relegating religious education to Sunday morning classes.

Allen is a professor of biblical studies and director of the Child and Family Studies Program at John Brown University. She holds degrees from Harding University, the University of Iowa, and Talbot School of Theology.

She is noted for her research on spiritual development in children, and is frequently sought by parents, the educational establishment, social workers, and churches to speak on children’s spirituality.

OC’s Intergenerational Faith Center assists and equips families and faith-based institutions in spiritual formation. The IFC provides strategies and advises ministers, church leaders and other groups in developing intergenerational programming and practices.

Previous speakers for the IFC Dialogues include best-selling authors David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, and Gabe Lyons, founder of Q Ideas and Catalyst.

Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity and theological studies.

The last nine years have featured the nine largest enrollments in OC history, including a record 2,424 students this year.