Once a quarter, Iliff students from around the globe travel to Iliff’s Denver campus during Gathering Days Week to engage in a week of in-depth, dynamic, challenging scholarship.

During the ’24 Winter Gathering Days, students experienced art, dialogue, laughter, lamentation, and deep reflection. Here are some highlights!

President Butler shares his vision with Students

Standing in front of the word "Theology," President Butler speaks with conviction as he points toward the future.

We Advocate Freedom!” We advocate freedom, and everything that it means to be free––that’s what we are advocating. We are working on a new theological anthropology––a new way of understanding what it means to be human, what it means to be in relationship as we’re working “Toward Intercultural Equity“––and we are advocating freedom.


Challenging Scholarship

Native American man and Iliff instructor, Steven Newcomb, stands before a class, smiling in anticipation of the conversation to come.

Doctrine of Discovery

Iliff challenges its students to think critically about subjects that many theological institutions shy away from. On Tuesday, students were led through a conversation on the Doctrine of Discovery by guest lecturer, Steven Newcomb, renowned author of the book, Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery. Joining Steven were scholars, Dr. Tink Tinker, Dr. Loring Abeyta, and Glenn Morris, who offered valuable perspectives about the logic of dominance that is woven into the fabric of America’s history.

Pictures from Other Gathering Days Classes

Big Mama Speaks

Big Mama Speaks, a one-woman play that recounts the history of “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, OK, and explores the work of reconciliation came to Iliff during Gathering Days Week.

As we continued our observation of African American History Month, artist and activist, Vanessa Adams-Harris led us through a reflection on the impact of the worst race riot massacre in American history, which destroyed the beloved Greenwood District, renowned nationally in the early twentieth century for its preeminent Black entrepreneurs.

Against all odds, Tulsa’s African-American community overcame, and Big Mama Speaks gives voice to the triumph of the human spirit. Adams-Harris led Iliff through a deep reflection the resilience of the human spirit in the face of the horrors of violence and racism.

Worship in the Chapel

Participants in the Anglican Studies Program welcomed the community to an Episcopal Eucharistic Service in the Chapel on Friday evening. The service offered students from various traditions with the opportunity to experience the beauty of Anglican liturgy.

First Year Students Dive Deep

First year students are required to take a course called Identity, Power, Vocation, and Community, which serves as a primer for all of their theological studies. Students talked about Iliff’s history with “The Book,” the impact of the logic of dominance, and the possible strategies for moving forward with greater transparency, honesty, and solidarity with indigenous peoples.

The above photo features most of this year’s ’23-24 class of IPVC students at the end of their final class of Gathering Days Week.

Important work from JDP and MASJE Students

As part of the Winter 2024 course, Womanist Theoethics, taught by Dr. April Mack, Assistant Professor of Religion and Social Justice, four male-embodied JDP students made a presentation on the book Womanist Forefathers: Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois by Gary L. Lemons. As part of their presentation, each student discussed their experience in the Joint Doctoral Program and how womanist discourse and womanist methodologies have informed their scholarship.

Masters students in the course made presentations on the landmark canonical womanist text Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil by renowned womanist Emilie M. Townes.

As a central part of Dr. Mack’s pedagogy, student presentations play a central role in student development. As the Director of the Master of Social Justice and Ethics Program, Dr. Mack seeks to create leaders who are critical thinkers and scholar-activists that will be equipped to dismantle structural inequality as part of their social justice activism.