The role of faith in bolstering courage in time of crisis will be the focus of the ninth biennial Veritas Forum at Hope College, which will take place on Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 10-13.

Featuring a variety of presentations, including two keynote addresses, three panel discussions and a concert, the forum will examine the topic “Courage and Crisis: Embracing a Costly Discipleship.”

Although the Veritas Forum has been planned for the campus community, the public is invited.  Admission is free to all events except for the concert.

The mission overview for this year’s forum provides a framework for the discussion by asking, “How does Christ call us to respond to crises, whether encountered in international settings or in the intimate arena of our own emotions?  What kind of preparation is necessary to respond with courage that does not yield in the face of a crisis?”

The overview continues, “Christian discipleship shapes our responses to ordinary events, but also how we live, think and speak in extraordinarily difficult circumstances.  Following Jesus may mean pronouncing the gospel of grace in a hostile environment, insisting on justice when injustice holds sway, or simply standing by a friend under assault.”

The forum will open on Thursday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel with the keynote address “Who is Christ for us Today? The Fierce Urgency of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Final Questions” by Dr. Charles Marsh, who is professor of religious studies and director of The Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia.

The Rev. Canon Dr. Andrew White, who is chaplain of St. George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq, will speak during the college’s chapel service on Friday, Jan. 11, at 10:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel, discussing “Faith Under Fire.”

A panel discussion on Friday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall will reflect on “Courage, the Cross and Our Community.”  Chaired by Dr. James Herrick, who is the Guy Vander Jagt Professor of Communication at Hope, the panel will feature Marshall Booker, a retired social worker who is a deacon at Messiah Missionary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids; Jeff Roessing, who is founder of Eighth Day Farm in Holland; Dr. Sue Rozeboom, who is assistant professor of liturgical theology at Western Theological Seminary; and Bev Schipper of Hamilton, artist and owner of Dumb Sheep Notecards.

Canon White, who has led St. George’s since 1998, will present the Veritas Forum’s second keynote address, “Taking Risks for the Kingdom,” on Friday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

The activities on Saturday, Jan. 12, will open with the panel “Beauty or Brokenness: The Witness of Art” at 11 a.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.  Chaired by Elizabeth Bauman, visiting assistant professor of English at Hope, the panel will feature Dr. Susanna Childress, an adjunct assistant professor of English at Hope and award-winning writer; Wade Gugino, a cartoon artist and 1992 Hope graduate from Holland; and songwriter John Mark McMillan, who will also be performing in concert later in the day.

A second event on Saturday, Jan. 12, will feature papers by Hope and Western Theological Seminary students on courage.  The presentations will take place at 1 p.m. in rooms 119, 201 and 204 of Graves Hall.

John Mark McMillan, with Hope students opening, will perform on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 8 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.  McMillan’s most popular song, “How He Loves,” was released independently in 2005 and has been covered by Christian artists like David Crowder, Jesus Culture, The Glorious Unseen, Hillsong and Kari Jobe.  He is currently touring to support his most recent recording, “Economy,” which is a natural progression and departure from the themes of death and resurrection that clothed his 2008 release, “The Medicine,” as evidenced by the opening line of “Economy’s” title track:  “Raise your voice/Chase away the ghosts.”

The opening performances for McMillan’s concert will be offered by Hope students in an 8 Minutes Max format.  Through performances lasting at most eight minutes, a series of Hope students will apply music, dance and visual arts to exploring this year’s Veritas Forum theme.

Advance tickets for the concert are $15 for the general public and $5 for Hope students, and are available at the ticket office in the front lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse.  The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be called at (616) 395-7890. Public tickets are also available for purchase online at

The Veritas Forum will conclude with the college’s weekly Sunday evening worship service, “The Gathering,” on January 13 at 8 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.  Canon White will preach.

The DeVos Fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets.  Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., on College Avenue at 12th Street.  Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.

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 lives of writers, musicians, social activists, educators and artists. This forum has run every two years since its 1997 debut on campus.