SUMMA Theological Debate Summer Camp Now Taking Applications

The School of Theology, University of the South
Posted Mar 23, 2022

The SUMMA students and counselors stand for the end-of-camp group photo in front of the University’s All Saints’ Chapel.

Applications are now being accepted for SUMMA Theological Debate Camp 2022. Join us this summer from July 19–27 on the beautiful campus of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

SUMMA Theological Debate Camp gives students the confidence to speak their truth in love, and to live their faith more deeply. Campers attend theology lectures and seminars led by clergy and university professors that broaden understanding of the Christian faith tradition and its enduring relevance in our lives today. Small groups work to form debate arguments and engage in stimulating discussions that hone skills in research, speaking, listening, and critical thinking. During the end-of-camp debate tournament, each camper argues both the affirmative and negative positions of a debate resolution.

SUMMA is open to high school students entering grades 9–12 in the fall of 2022. We welcome campers from all backgrounds and faith traditions. The application deadline is May 15, 2022. Tuition is $1,325 and includes room, all meals, and camp materials. A limited number of full and partial scholarships are available for students with demonstrated financial need.

The Rev. Dr. Christoph Keller III founded the SUMMA Theological Society and directed its first camp in 2012. He returns at the 2022 camp as its principal lecturer.

Dr. Melody Lehn and the Rev. Warren Swenson have recently been named SUMMA’s new program director and assistant director, respectively.

Dr. Lehn is assistant professor of rhetoric and women’s and gender studies and assistant director of the Center for Speaking & Listening in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the South.

“I am thrilled to be joining SUMMA this year as its program director,” says Lehn. “I have long admired how SUMMA seamlessly couples theological inquiry with the art of rhetoric. The ethos of the camp really invites a multiplicity of perspectives to bear on questions about how to live and learn well together. I am also very excited to further connect SUMMA to the University’s new rhetoric program, our state-of-the-art Center for Speaking & Listening, our co- and extracurricular activities in public speaking and debate, and the strong sense of community between and among these programs. Campers can expect a once-in-a-lifetime experience on the Mountain this year!”

The Rev. Swenson is an Episcopal priest, serving as associate priest of Southeast Tennessee Episcopal Ministry (STEM), a system of yoked congregations on and around the Cumberland Plateau. In addition to his work with STEM, he is a Ph.D. student in the department of theology and religious studies at the University of Chester and has served as visiting instructor of rhetoric at the University of the South.

“What a joy it is to be working with SUMMA, a program that not only strengthens students’ theological engagement and critical-thinking skills but fosters lasting relationships across cultures and faith traditions,” says Swenson. “We are looking forward to another banner year!”

Visit for more information and to apply.

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