The Veritas Forum at Hope College will examine the relationship between personal choice and life purpose, or calling, on Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 9-11.

The three-day event will include multiple addresses on a variety of topics, and will culminate in a concert on Saturday, Jan. 11, by Jars of Clay.

Although the Veritas Forum has been planned for the campus community, the public is invited. Admission is free to all presentations except for the concert, for which there will be a $20 charge.

The theme of choice and calling is being addressed as especially relevant to students who are preparing for their life journeys, according to Dr. Marc Baer, who is a professor of history and helped found the college's Veritas Forum, first held in 1997.

"Increasingly the question of purpose is couched as a matter of calling, that is, of a higher, even a God- given direction to life. A great deal of attention has also been focused recently on questions of personal moral choice, whether about relationships, money, the use of time, or the use of our bodies," Baer noted. "How does personal choice affect our understanding of our calling, or, on the other hand, obstruct our response to calling? And, what are the long-term consequences of personal choice for realizing the fullness of one's calling?"

The Veritas Forum began at Harvard University in 1992 as a way to get students to think about what the school was founded upon: the Veritas, or truth, of Jesus Christ. Since then, dozens of campuses in the United States and abroad have emulated the Harvard model and held forums of their own.

The Hope Veritas Forum is designed to include the arts, ideas, theology and popular culture, so as to listen to how God works in the whole lives of scholars, musicians, social activitists, educators, writers and artists. This year's program is the fourth presented at Hope through the Forum, which also ran in 1997, 1999 and 2001.

The opening keynote address, "God's Calling and My Choices: Developing a Vision for Your Future," will be delivered by Dr. Tony Campolo on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel. Campolo is a professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa., and the author of 28 books. He is founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE), and is an ordained minister who has served American Baptist churches in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Campolo will also participate in a "coffeehouse chat" immediately following his talk, on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 9 p.m. at The Good Earth, 14 E. 7th St. In addition, he will speak during the college's chapel service on Friday, Jan. 10, at 10:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

On Friday, Jan. 10, at 3:30 p.m., Jars of Clay will participate in a "question and answer" session in the Maas Center auditorium. In May of 1995, Jars of Clay became the first contemporary Christian act to have a debut album achieve platinum status. The group has won two Grammys, and has appeared on venues ranging from MTV to The CBS Early Show.

Dr. Steven Garber will present the Veritas Forum's second keynote address, "Learning to Know and to Love at the Same Time," on Friday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel. The talk is being co-sponsored by the college's Pew Society as the society's 2003 Pew Faith and Learning Lecture. Garber is Senior Fellow at the C.S. Lewis Institute in Virginia, and is currently serving as a Fellow and Lilly Faculty Scholar at Calvin College in Grand Rapids.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, at 9 a.m., Dr. Antonio Tendero will present "Learning from Faithful Students: A Teacher's Calling" in the Maas Center auditorium. Tendero is an assistant professor of English education at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, and for 13 years served as a middle school English teacher and teacher educator in Saginaw, Northern Virginia, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

A panel of speakers will consider "Singleness or Marriage? Calling and Commitment in Relationships" on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 11 a.m. in the Maas Center auditorium. The four panelists will be Kelly Monroe, the founder of the original Veritas Forum at Harvard, who is now a chaplain to graduate students at Harvard; Ryan Pazdur, a 1997 Hope graduate who is pastor of global outreach at Corinth Reformed Church in Byron Center; Estella Smith of Holland, a reading teacher who works with at-risk or physically disabled children in the Holland Public Schools; and Joel Tanis of Holland, a 1989 Hope graduate and artist who is also on the Veritas Forum's planning committee.

Jars of Clay will perform on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 9 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel. Tickets for the concert are $20 for the general public, and will be sold on Monday- Friday, Jan. 6-10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the box office in the theatre lobby of the DeWitt Center. The box office may be called at (616) 395-7890.

Other events scheduled in conjunction with the Veritas Forum include two lunchtime discussions titled "Courageous Choices: God's Extraordinary Call to Ordinary People," to be held on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 9-10, at noon in the Otte Room on the northeast corner of the main floor of Phelps Hall. There will also be a worship service on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium.

The DeWitt Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street. Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located on College Avenue at 12th Street. The Maas Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street. Phelps Hall is located on Columbia Avenue at 10th Street.