Dr. Donald Luidens of the Hope College faculty presented the 1999 Tollefson Lecture at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, on Monday, Nov. 15.

          Luidens, who is professor of sociology and chair
  of the department at Hope, presented "Through a Glass,
  Darkly:  Christianity 2000 and Beyond."  In conjunction with
  his visit, he also led workshops for students and local
          Buena Vista's annual Robert and Barbara Tollefson
  Lectureship in Reformed Theology is named in honor of Dr.
  Robert Tollefson, who was professor of religion and
  philosophy at the university from 1960 to 1992, and his wife
  Barbara.  The series, established by their children and
  friends, seeks to provide students with the opportunity to
  explore the relationship of the Christian faith to
  contemporary concerns.  Buena Vista was founded by the
  Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1891.
          In his address, Luidens examined the demographic
  and attitude shifts that he feels are behind the on-going,
  30-year decline in mainline Protestant membership, and
  considered a variety of scholarly interpretations of the
  reasons for the decline and ways to combat it.  He noted
  that many of the same shifts are beginning to affect more
  traditional, non-mainline churches in a similar fashion as
  they come to terms with modernity and its challenges.
          He also presented signs that he believes
  demonstrate the vitality of mainline Protestantism in the
  face of social and cultural changes.  He feels that the
  adaptive signs suggest considerable flexibility and long-
  term viability among mainline churches as they face the new
          Luidens has been a member of the Hope faculty
  since 1977.  He has been studying membership trends in
  mainline Protestantism for more than two decades, and is co-
  author of the book "Vanishing Boundaries:  The Religion of
  Mainline Protestant Baby Boomers," which received the 1994
  "Distinguished Book Award" from the Society for the
  Scientific Study of Religion."
          He is a 1969 Hope graduate.  He holds a master of
  divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a
  master's and a doctorate in sociology from Rutgers