Montreat Conference Center

Leanne Van Dyk Preaches June 18

posted on Jun. 11, 2017

Montreat Conference CenterOne of the highlights of the summer season in Montreat and the greater Swannanoa valley community is the worship series hosted by the Montreat Conference Center each Sunday at 10:30 am in Anderson Auditorium. Conference musicians and artists, under the leadership of Eric Wall and Dr. Ann Laird Jones, work with the Summer Worship Committee to make these Sunday morning experiences creative as well as worshipful.

Guest preacher on June 18 is the Rev. Dr. Leanne Van Dyk, president of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, who has chosen as her sermon topic one of the most familiar of all Biblical passages: the Beatitudes.

“I am often grateful and impressed with the faithful ministry of the church,” she says in explaining her interest in the Beatitudes. “Good, loving, committed work and witness is happening. But I do think that some parts of the church have constructed a ‘god’ that is small and angry and divisive; this, of course, is not at all the God who created, redeemed, and sustains us and the God we serve and worship through Jesus Christ. Maybe we have a crisis of imagination; we need to think much, much bigger about God!

“I chose the Beatitudes because I am convinced that they proclaim a very big God with a very big call to us as the church.”

Van Dyk grew up in Grand Rapids, MI – one of five children with a pastor father and a teacher mother. At Calvin College she earned a double major in education and music. After graduation, she became a 4th grade teacher and earned a MA in early childhood education, thinking she would focus her career on elementary education. In her mid twenties, she experienced a keen and unmistakable call to ministry, left her teaching job, and began seminary at Calvin Theological Seminary:

“Unfortunately, the denomination that baptized me and nurtured me – the Christian Reformed Church – did not ordain me when I graduated with a MDiv because of their ban on women’s ordination. I earned my PhD in systematic theology as a result of that barrier. Although that experience was deeply painful, I am so grateful for my ministry in theological education. I feel enormously blessed with the way my call has unfolded.”

She has served as a theology professor, an academic dean, and now a seminary president.

All of the summer Sunday services in the series are at 10:30 am in Anderson Auditorium, just off Assembly Drive in Montreat. Child care is available for children six months through kindergarten at the Updike Child Care Center on Texas Road.

As is the summer tradition, the community is invited to the lunch buffet at 11:45 am in the Assembly Inn’s Galax Dining Room following worship. Lunch tickets can be purchased at the Assembly Inn front desk.

For further information or to learn about other worship, educational, and recreational opportunities at Montreat, visit, or call 828.669.2911.

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