mary lee talbot
Why does Tony Campolo keep returning to Chautauqua Institution?
“I could tell you, ‘because it is an elite crowd,’ and that I enjoy the chance to communicate with such a crowd,” he said, “but the truth is, I just love it there.”
Campolo, the associate pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, will return during Week Four for his fifth time as the Institution’s chaplain in residence.
“I am selfish,” he said. “I love the opera, symphony, plays, the lovely people I eat dinner with. … The Chautauqua crowd is an intellectual elite that is not intimidated by a speaker. It is a rare opportunity for a speaker; they challenge you. They make appointments to meet with you. They evaluate and critique you carefully. That does not happen on the speakers’ circuit. There is interaction, even in the big service.”
Campolo will speak at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning worship service in the Amphitheater. His topic will be “Becoming Fully Human” and the Scripture will be 1 John 3:1-16. He will share his faith journey at the 5 p.m. Vespers Sunday in the Hall of Philosophy. He will also preach Monday to Friday at the 9:15 a.m. morning worship service in the Amphitheater.
“My problem in the morning talks is that I am long-winded,” he said. “The services at Chautauqua are precise — the music is precise and the speaker is timed to end at a certain moment. That kind of time allotment is hard for an old-time preacher.”
Chautauquans often come up and talk to him on the grounds.
“They came to Chautauqua with their problems and they ask me for help,” he said. “I try to help them answer their questions.”
In November 2012, Campolo received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Youth Workers Convention.
“I don’t generalize about young people,” he said. “There are all kinds of young people. Some are all ‘me, me, me.’ Others are striving to do something heroic. They did not come to visit but to make a change, to invest their lives.”
Campolo says young people want to do something that will make God proud. He says this is not exclusive to those in faith communities, but also applies to the non-religious.
Campolo is professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University, has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and is founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education.
He graduated from Eastern University and received his Ph.D. from Temple University. The author of 39 books, he just published Red Letter Revolution, which was co-authored by Shane Claiborne.
At the Sunday morning service, the Chautauqua Choir will sing “And All Who Listen” in honor of the 69th annual National Federation of Music Clubs weekend at Chautauqua.
“I am delighted to do this anthem because the Federation was so supportive of me when I was a student here,” said Jared Jacobsen, organist and worship and sacred music coordinator.
Carrie Craft wrote “And All Who Listen” using a poem by Agnes Bishop Jardine, president of the NFMC from 1933-37. The images in the text describe the interweaving of creation with the arts.
Craft wrote the piece for a men’s chorus in Jamestown, N.D. It has only been performed four times, so it is still a new piece of music. Craft will be on the grounds this weekend for the NMFC conference.