Salt & Light Seminar

Salt & Light is an annual seminar hosted by the Vernon Grounds Institute of Public Ethics.

The purpose of the seminar is to offer a collective learning experience designed to empower and inspire participants to steward the resources that God has given them for maximum impact in the world. Those who attend the event will have the opportunity to interact with leaders in their fields, enjoy a catered lunch, and receive the monograph series published by the Vernon Grounds Institute.

2014-2015 Theme - Moral Implications for the Practice of Capital Punishment

The primary aim of this year's Salt & Light event is to guide participants in thinking through the philosophical and ethical implications of capital punishment.

Dr. Doug Groothuis, Dr. Jim Ryan, Ms. Jennifer Kraska, and Honorable Raymond Dean Jones will present views on capital punishment from philosophical, ethical, pastoral, and legal perspectives for and against respectively. All speakers will have a respondent speaker challenging their respective viewpoints. Following the main event, all four speakers will sit down for a lunch with the attendees to discuss the different perspectives and how we can use them to be Salt & Light in this world. 

The Salt & Light Seminar will take place on Saturday, April 25, 2015. For more information on this event or to register, please click here.

About Dr. Doug Groothuis

Dr. Douglas Groothuis joined the faculty at Denver Seminary in 1993 and is professor of philosophy. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, Evangelical Philosophical Society, and Society of Christian Philosophers.

Dr. Groothuis received a PhD and a BS from the University of Oregon, and an MA in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has served as adjunct professor at Seattle Pacific University, visiting instructor in apologetics for Westminster Theological Seminary, and instructor at the University of Oregon. He is the author of numerous publications including Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Christian Faith, Unmasking the New Age, Revealing the New Age Jesus, and Christianity That Counts.

About Dr. Jim Ryan

Rev. Dr. Jim Ryan is the retired Executive Director of the Colorado Council of Churches where he served from February 1, 2000 to May 31, 2013. Since his retirement he has established Doing Justice LLC based on Micah 6:8 which affirms "If you want peace, work for justice;" this passage has guided Jim's life and ministry. Jim was born and raised in Akron, Ohio and was an active layperson while working as a systems analyst with an international corporation. He was ordained into the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in June 1974.

Jim served as Senior Minister of First Christian Church in Des Moines, Iowa and then as Executive Director of the Ecumenical Ministries of Iowa before moving to Colorado. He received his Master of Divinity from Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky and his Doctor of Ministry from Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri.

In the Denver community Jim was a founding Board member of Housing Justice! and served as the founding President of the Board of Eco-Justice Ministries. He has also served on the Board of Samaritan Counseling Center, Great Education Colorado, Colorado Interfaith Voices for Justice, Clothes To Kids Denver and is the founder of the Colorado Interfaith Roundtable. Jim has several publications, his most recent was Doing Justice in a Purple Congregation.

Dr. Ryan’s wife, Kristin Ryan (MSW), is a retired elementary school principal in Littleton, Colorado. They have adult children and grandchildren living with their families in Iowa, California and Colorado. In his spare time, Jim enjoys travel and golf.

About Jennifer Kraska

Jennifer Kraska grew up in Prior Lake, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. She attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she graduated with a double major in Catholic Studies and Theology as well as a minor in Latin. She continued her graduate studies at St. Thomas where she earned her doctor of law degree and a master's degree in Catholic Studies.

Kraska worked as a research attorney for Thompson West Publishing before moving to Colorado in 2007 where she joined the Colorado Catholic Conference, the state level, public policy agency of the Catholic Church. The Conference is operated jointly by the three Catholic dioceses in the state of Colorado. In 2008 Jenny became the Executive Director of the Conference. Kraska serves as President of the National Association of State Catholic Conference Directors, a Consulter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education, is a member of the Federal Assistance Advisory Commission, and is a board member of Catholic Rural Life.


For archived events from the Salt & Light Seminar, click here.

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