KOFO Local News

OU wins grant for youth ethics, spirituality institute

Posted in Uncategorized by kofonews on December 12, 2015

OTTAWA — Ottawa University has received a grant of $593,623 to establish the Theology, Action, and Understanding (TAU) Institute. The Institute is designed to encourage young people to ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary religious and political issues, serving others and correcting injustice, said Ottawa University chaplain The Rev. John Holzhuter. It is part of Lilly Endowment’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service, he said. The Institute curriculum will be designed by Holzhuter and the Rev. Dr. Richard Menninger, OU Andrew B. Martin Distinguished Chair of Religion. It’s designed in part as a response to a nation-wide survey of spiritually-inclined young people ranging from teenage through age 26, he said. “After four years of surveying youth, nationwide, on their quandaries with faith, questions on the value of religion and assessments of the social implications of both, we were eager to broker programming that would inform misconceptions and illustrate the tangible values of faith-community,” said Holzhüter. He said he was surprised by the depth of mistrust of organized religion and of the older generation indicated in the survey. “In fact, my feelings were a little hurt,” he said, after he read some of the responses to the survey. He said he is not sure they’re views were response to disillusionment with the mixture of religion and conservative politics now informing much of the American political landscape or an expression of the generation gap. However, it’s something organized religion will have to confront because many church congregations are made up mostly of older members and face the prospect of closing unless they attract younger members, he said. Through the TAU Institute, 75 high school-aged youth, from both urban and rural settings in the throughout the Midwest and Arizona, will take in a year-long curriculum and a one-week conference, free of charge.

Saturday, Dec. 12, 3 p.m.

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