The IRT Colloquy Program
The heart of the Institutes program is our program of colloquies. Each colloquy addresses constructive questions for Reformed churches, and the church universal. The membership of each colloquy consist of about 20 persons, including scholars, pastors, church educators, and students. We strive to invite pastors and scholars who represent the variety of theological perspectives and cultural backgrounds that can be found within the Reformed family.
Colloquy members gather for extended meetings four to eight times. This intensive format allows opportunities for group formation: in prayer and worship, at meal times, and "around the edges" of the official program.
Colloquy topics are picked one year in advance by the Board of Governors (see a list of colloquy topics below). The leader of the colloquy, in consultation with others, prepares a syllabus of readings in classical and contemporary Reformed theology as well as from other ancillary approaches and disciplines as necessary to address the announced theme. Colloquy members prepare for meetings by reading the syllabus and preparing short reflection papers. The chief purpose for these papers is not the preparation of flawless academic works, but to foster discussion. We believe the IRT's most important contribution to the church and academy is modeling sophisticated, thoughtful, and open theological conversation, and supporting the growth of such conversations in the congregations, governing bodies, and schools of the Reformed family of denominations.
Each member of an IRT colloquy covenants to disseminate the results of his or her work in an appropriate way. For the scholars who participate, this may involve publishing articles or books related to the theme of the colloquy. For the students, a paper or research project in a class, or the development of a curriculum for adult Sunday school classes may be the best avenue of dissemination. A form of dissemination we value highly and strongly encourage and support is the formation of similar discussion groups in other locations. This is a particularly appropriate means of dissemination for pastors and educators, who, in forming local discussion groups, can do much to improve the quality of the theological conversation in their congregations and judicatories.
If you wish to see the syllabus for a colloquy, please click on the colloquy name below.