Dr. Robin Klay of the Hope College economics faculty was one of seven scholars or theologians from across the country invited to make presentations during the two-day conference "American Evangelicalism: Then and Now (1984, 2009)," held at Toccoa Falls College in Georgia on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27-28.
The interdisciplinary conference was organized to encourage evangelical Christians to exercise discernment as they consider the issues confronting the church today, particularly in the context of political, economic and social changes across the past 25 years. Klay presented "In a Time of Trouble: Economic Insights and Christian Hope" on Saturday, Feb. 28.
Klay is a professor of economics at Hope, where she has taught since 1979. Her primary research emphasis is on the connections between Christian faith and practice and economic theory and policy.
Her publications include the books "Economics in Christian Perspective: Theory, Policy and Life Choices" (2007) and "Counting the Cost: The Economics of Christian Stewardship" (1986), as well as articles published in journals such as "The Christian Century," "Perspectives," "Faith and Economics," and "Markets and Morality." During the Winter Happening event at Hope on Saturday, Jan. 31, she co-presented the seminar "How Can We Be Christians in Our Economic Life?," which examined how Christians can bring their faith and values into the public sphere as workers and employers, savers and consumers, and citizens and leaders.
Klay's scholarly work runs in tandem with a commitment to service. In 2008, she received a "Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award" from Michigan Campus Compact in recognition of her role in establishing the college's "Hope Blooms" off-campus study program in Mexico, an internship experience that emphasizes service and cultural immersion and reflects her longstanding commitment to helping others. Among other activities through the years, she helped start an "English as a Second Language" program at Fourth Reformed Church, working with Hope students and others. In 1991, she received the "Washington State Governor's Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service" for introducing and integrating an "Each Can Helps" donation program to help meet the needs of food banks in Yakima County, a response to a need that she observed while visiting her parents in the community. She also spent three years teaching and doing research in Cameroon.
The Toccoa Falls College's History Society and Philosophy Club hosted the conference. In addition to Klay, the invited speakers included Norman Geisler, co-founder and former president of Southern Evangelical Seminary; Barry Hankins, professor of history at Baylor University; D.G. Hart, director of academic programs at The Intercollegiate Studies Institute; Reginald McLelland, professor emeritus of philosophy at Covenant College; Darwin Smith, professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Georgia; and Clifton Taubert, president and founder of the Building Community Institute. Presenters also included members of the Toccoa Falls faculty as well as students from both the undergraduate and graduate levels.