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Mountain Top Lecture Series schedules speakers for 2018-19 academic year

2018-08-15-MountainTopLecture1
The Rev. Gretta Vosper and the Rev. Brian McLaren are the featured guests speaking at the Mountain Top Lecture series Aug. 25 and Nov. 10, respectively. Vosper is the minister of West Hill United Church in the district of Scarborough, Toronto, Canada and in the Toronto Conference of the UCC (United Church of Canada).

University of North Georgia (UNG) students are tasked with finding the right answers and explaining their conclusions throughout their collegiate careers. Each year, though, UNG students, faculty and staff, along with the community, may delve into topics where no right or wrong answers exist through the Mountain Top Lectures.

The Mountain Top Lectures series in collaboration with UNG hosts scholars and authors on a wide range of topics related to religion and spirituality. Three lectures occur during the academic year with two in the fall and one in the spring.

The Mountain Top Lectures speakers for the upcoming 2018-19 academic year are:

"We picked dates that do not coincide with other UNG events to allow students the chance to attend," Dr. Michael Proulx, associate professor of ancient Mediterranean worlds in history and anthropology at UNG, said.

UNG students, faculty and staff are admitted for free. The cost for Mountain Top Lecture sponsors is $50 and members of the public is $60.

The purpose of Mountain Top Lectures is to offer opportunities to hear from international and national experts in various fields of theology, religion and spirituality on a local and intimate level, said Suzanne Waller, a member of the board of directors for Mountain Top Lectures.

"What's imperative is that it's intimate," Waller said. "It's a small group and participants have the ability to have a conversation with the speaker. They are completely accessible and you don't get that with a traditional lecture."

Proulx encourages students, faculty and staff to attend and take advantage of the different perspectives offered at the event.

"The Mountain Top Lectures deal with a real weighty humanistic topic, and none more so than the idea of the divine," he said, explaining 70 percent to 80 percent of Americans claim to be spiritual and engage in a religious function in life. "To be able to offer this event to the UNG and north Georgia communities is amazing."

The Mountain Top Lecture series started eight years ago by a reading group that wanted to explore more topics of Christianity and its opposing perspectives. The small, devoted group grew in numbers as it supplied a forum for experts to express their ideas.

"The audience was hungry and wanted to learn more about spirituality and experience it," Proulx said. "It was more than the conventional experience which is in a church, synagogue or temple. From my own experience, they were searching for a transcendence in understanding of what the divine might mean to them."

As more attended the event, the lecture series started to outgrow its space at a hotel at the top of Amicalola Falls. Desiring a little larger space with room to grow and an area with more dining options for future lectures, Mountain Top Lectures searched for an alternate venue. That's when UNG volunteered Hoag Auditorium to hold its meeting, which supplied Dahlonega and its amenities to meet the group's growing need. Both institutions benefited from the partnership, Proulx said.

"With UNG being a public university, it could provide the opportunity for students and the community to engage in these ideas," he said.

For more information or to register, visit the Mountain Top Lectures website.

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