Celebrations worldwide mark John Calvin’s 500th birthday

A number of commemorations celebrating Protestant reformer John Calvin’s 500th birthday have been scheduled. A conference billed as “John Calvin’s Jubilee” is being held from Thursday through Saturday at the Montreat Conference Center in Montreat, N.C., sponsored by the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Joseph Small, the Director of Theology, Worship and Education for the Presbyterian Church USA wrote in a blog that Calvin should be celebrated by the denomination for his influence in its founding and his philosophies. “We need not put Calvin on a pedestal in order to appreciate the ways in which his perspectives on Christian faith and life have shaped Reformed churches throughout the world, and continue to shape our church today,” Small wrote. “Calvin placed the highest value on education in the church,” Small added.” He thought, ‘doubly fools’ those ‘who do not deign to learn, because they think they are wise enough.’ Thus, Calvin established schools for Geneva’s children and youth, and he taught Scripture and theology daily. His understanding of Christian education was not confined to the classroom, however, or limited to the most talented students. Many poor ignorant people today, he wrote, ‘though ignorant and unskilled in the use of language, make known Christ more faithfully than all the theologians … with their lofty speculations.’” Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., named after John Calvin, will have a series of events this week celebrating his life and teachings. A forum discussion will take place today, July 7th, at a local bookstore discussing Calvin’s relevance. Thursday the college will have a Genevan Psalm Sing and Friday it will host a birthday open house with educational displays and songs. Alma College of Alma, Mich., is sponsoring an essay contest prompting students to analyze Calvin’s teachings and apply them to 21st century challenges for Christianity. The essays are due in November. Top prize is $500. Princeton Theological Seminary of Princeton, N.J., is hosting a year-long celebration of Calvin, including daily readings walking through Calvin’s Institutes of The Christian Religion. Last week in Boston the Reformation 500 Celebration spent four days examining Calvin’s life, teachings and how they related to the foundations of American government. It was sponsored by Vision Forum Ministries. A trip sponsored by a number of American seminaries and churches named the Calvin Quincentenary, is touring historic Calvin-related sites in France and Switzerland, wrapping up on his birthday this Friday, July 10th. The Calvin Quincentenary reached Geneva on Sunday with an opening convocation. Links: Calvin College celebration: http://www.calvin.edu/meeter/events/2009oncampusevents.htm Alma College essay contest: http://www.alma.edu/student_life/chaplain/calvinst Daily pieces of Institutes of The Christian Religion: http://www2.ptsem.edu/ConEd/Calvin/ Calvin Jubilee: http://www.pcusa.org/calvinjubilee/ Facebook page on Calvin’s 500th birthday: http://ro-ro.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=19516374307&topic=5105 The Calvin Quincentenary: http://www.calvin500.org/ Hundreds kick off Calvin Quincentenary celebration in Geneva: http://au.christiantoday.com/article/hundreds-kick-off-calvin-quincentenary-celebration-in-geneva/6595.htm

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