The Areopagus: “A Conversation about Faith in the Public Square”

This fall, the Areopagus series will explore issues related to identity, pluralism, and reconciliation across differences.  Questions having to do with the nature of identity and the relationship between those of different identities present challenges both in today’s church and in contemporary society.  This series will provide us with opportunities to reflect on ways of practicing reconciliation across differences.

In the books of Acts, the apostle Paul travels to Athens where he preaches in the synagogues, in the marketplace, and in the schools of the city. At one point, he begins his presentation of the gospel by saying, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way! For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you!” When the crowd heard Paul’s message, “some scoffed,” but others said, “We will hear you again about this,” and still others “became believers” (Acts 17.16-34).

The location where Paul is said to have delivered this speech is Mars Hill, also known as the Areopagus (after the Greek phrase “Areios Pagos,” or “rock of Ares”). Paul’s speech at the Areopagus has for centuries provided a model for the church as to how to proclaim the gospel in the midst of a people for whom the gospel is foreign or unknown.

Here at Trinity Cathedral, the Areopagus series is intended to foster discussion about the nature of faith in the contemporary world and the exercise of faith in today’s culture. The series likewise provides members of Trinity and the wider community with opportunities to reflect on issues having to do with civic society and the common good, the maintenance of a flourishing culture, and the public exercise of religious faith.

The schedule for the fall season is as follows:

September 22 - Pluralism, Identity, and Reconciliation
The Reverend Dr. Andrew Grosso
Canon to the Dean, Trinity Cathedral

October 20 - Gender, Identity, and Reconciliation
Dr. Stephanie Y. Mitchem
Professor of Religious Studies, University of South Carolina

November 17 - Race, Identity, and Reconciliation
Dr. Bobby J. Donaldson
Associate Professor of History, University of South Carolina

December 15 - Religion, Identity, and Reconciliation
Dr. Ed Smither
Dean of the College of Intercultural Studies, Columbia International University

Schedule of Events (all events are in Satterlee Hall):

5:00 pm - Welcome Reception
5:10 pm - Presentation
5:40 pm - Small-group Discussion
5:50 pm - Plenary debriefing and conclusion