Every so often, on this blog we point out helpful initiatives for Christian postgraduates. Today, I’d like to tell you about a conference which has been immensely helpful to me personally. The conference is called ‘Transforming the mind, the annual National Christian Postgraduate Conference’. This year is the 13th time the conference has been organized, which means it has been going since 2003, and it is probably the oldest initiative for Christian postgraduates in the UK. Indeed, many of the current events for Christian postgraduates were at least partly inspired by Transforming the Mind, including FiSch, with Anthony Smith and myself currently serving on the TTM organizing committee and Richard Gunton as a former committee member.
‘Transforming the Mind’ refers to Romans 12:1-2, which states: ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ The conference was founded to encourage Christian postgraduates with a perspective of God’s Kingdom that will excite them in their research and will enable them to see how God values the calling they have as Christian scholar.
I have attended the conference every year since 2008, and it is always a weekend that I really look forward to. The first time I went I came on my own. I didn’t know anyone, but I hoped I would be challenged by the talks. I was certainly challenged by the depth and richness of the talks, but I also found something else: a community of Christian postgraduates who were all seeking to live lives that were faithful to the gospel in their calling as Christian scholars. And each year I have been encouraged to see God at work in and through their research and teaching.
This year, the weekend takes place on 26-28 June in the beautiful settings of Dovedale House in the Peak District. There will be talks by Revd Dr Chris Wright, International Ministries Director of Langham Partnership International; Dr Rhoda Hawkins, lecturer in Physics at the University of Sheffield; and the chair of the conference, Dr Maithrie White. Besides talks, the weekend features times of worship, group discussion, a time of leisure which may include a long walk in the hills or a visit to a nearby village, and above all, much time to share with other Christian postgraduates. The early bird registration date (30 April) is approaching, so do register! We heartily recommend the conference!