Building an Army of Friends

Dear Friends, 

At a time when both the church and wider society are riven by fear and factionalism, Davenant’s central commitment has become more important than ever before: to renew the church by building an army of friends. While many seem to equate concord with compromise, we believe it is possible to remain firm on the truths that matter without turning every conversation into a shouting match. 

To that end, we approach the end of our fiscal year with celebration over the previous year’s accomplishments and clear expectations about what the future may hold. This past year has seen The Davenant Institute grow its reach into the wider culture, recovering key texts and concepts from the past to inform our present moment.

Online we have hosted a monthly Davenant Fellows Lecture Series with titles ranging from Old Aristotle; Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Aquinas by Vice President Colin Redemer, to The Birth of Secularity by Ad Fontes Editor, Onsi Kamel, to the upcoming May lecture The Impact of Eschatology on John Owen by Rev. Daniel Hyde. These lectures have been seen by thousands of people all around the country and have allowed us to increase the scope and regularity of our audience. 

We have also used our Twitter presence to host a number of Spaces where various members of the organization have been able to speak publicly, debate, and answer live questions about Christian Education, Theology, and Natural Law, to scores of influencers in an open forum.

In print we have continued our quarterly publication of Ad Fontes. Highlights over the past year are our “Symposium on Meta-Modernism” with contributions from Jason Josephson Storm and DC Schindler, book reviews by Yale Professor Bruce Gordon, and original translations of Greek and Latin poetry by EJ Hutchinson. Along with that regular output we have been delighted to publish David Haines’ much praised Natural Theology, a modernized version of Richard Hooker’s A Learned Discourse on Justification, a collection of essays on A Protestant Christendom, and more.

In person, we have gathered scholars, patrons, and friends together at various events around the country to pursue the Davenant mission to “retrieve the riches of classical Protestantism renew and build up the contemporary church.” In March we held our first annual Bay Area Davenant Dinner at the Diablo Country Club where we invited Ryan T. Anderson of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (and author of the banned book When Harry Became Sally) to speak about “Christian Witness in a Hostile Culture.”

We also held two regional Carolinas Convivia at the Davenant House, one on the theology of law, and another on the wisdom and beauty of poetry, and a Twin Cities Convivium where President Brad Littlejohn, Board Member Jake Meador, and Joe Rigney (president of Bethlehem College and Seminary) presented papers on how the church’s response to political and social issues of the past can inform our present Christian witness.

We look forward to our National Convivium next month on “Philosophy and the Christian,” featuring the renowned Bavinck scholar Dr. James Eglinton as the keynote speaker, and an upcoming fundraising event in Washington, DC featuring Dr. Joshua Mitchell of Georgetown, author of American Awakening.
We have also been investing vigorously in the infrastructure for our rapidly growing organization. This includes a beautiful new finished space in the basement of Ridgeview House in our Davenant House residential study center complex, and completely new websites for the Davenant Institute and our Davenant Hall program–which we look forward to sharing with you in the coming weeks.

All of these accomplishments are made possible through God’s grace and your generosity. Thanks to all of you who have partnered with us here at the Davenant Institute in the past year. And as we look toward the upcoming fiscal year, we recognize that by sharing in our work, you contribute to the rehabilitation of an American church increasingly trapped in cycles of outrage and reaction in our fraught cultural moment. In particular, we are hoping to raise funds to meet needs such as:

– $750 each to provide scholarships so international students can participate in our summer intensive residential courses
– $5,000 to finish furnishing what are now three houses in the Davenant House complex, so our guests and visiting students can be cared for with adequate hospitality;
– $10,000 to hire a part-time chaplain for our Davenant House so guests and students and the property can be spiritually ministered to;
– $25,000 to fund the publication of nine new books in the coming year.

Your donations and support make all our previous efforts and our future efforts possible. 

But more than that, by sharing this with your own network, you help us continue to Build the Army of Friends that will help our march through the 21st century. To that end, in lieu of a specific dollar amount goal, we have established an End-of-Fiscal-Year Goal of 100 new unique donors between now and June 30. To accomplish this, we will need your help by both sharing this letter and also sharing how your relationship with the Davenant Institute has been a transformative and impactful one. And if you’ve been blessed by our work, but haven’t been in a position to support before, now is your chance to get involved–every gift makes a difference, large or small.
100 new donors is 100 new friends fighting the good fight together.

Blessings in Christ,

Brad Littlejohn