Thirty high school students have arrived at Westmont to participate in Trailhead: Seeking God’s Call, a new youth theology institute led by the Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts, through July 8. Some have come from as far away as Alaska and the Dominican Republic to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and consider how their faith calls them to lives of service.
“What a privilege it is to be part of equipping these young disciples for the changes, challenges and choices that lie ahead of them,” says Chris Hoeckley, director of the Gaede Institute. “Our goal is to contribute to deeper, more enduring, more life-giving relationships with God for these young people.”
In 2015, Westmont received a grant of $590,400 to establish Trailhead as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative.
Four two-day modules form the heart of Westmont’s two-week summer residential program; each module addresses a critical social concern and a fundamental theological theme. The modules include visits with local ministries or social service providers, theological reflection on topics related to those visits, academic analysis of relevant issues, and thematically inspired worship experiences. Workshops on leadership, spiritual formation, and vocational discernment, as well as opportunities for rest, reflection and recreation, will augment these core experiences.
The program includes faculty from Westmont and Fuller Theological Seminary.