SUMMA Spring Tournament

by Robbi Davis on April 3, 2014
SUMMA: A theological debate society is different from the other debate organizations that are offered to high school students. In SUMMA, high school students are given controversial topics that they must resolve through studying, forming arguments, and debating. However, unlike other debate organizations, students in SUMMA must form arguments that are centered in the Christian theological tradition. Students must gather evidence from the Scriptures, Christian doctrine, and various theologians and deliver an argument while "speaking the Truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)."  This gives high school students a unique opportunity to grow in their faith and understanding of the Christian tradition.

One participant, Ginny Greer, says, “Participating in SUMMA has enriched my spiritual journey by showing me that asking difficult questions, and pondering the answers with other conscientious individuals, is not a threat to faith, but a way to make it stronger."

A group of thoughtful teenagers from various denominations gathered at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on March 15 to debate the following resolution: "Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God." Each team debated both for and against the resolution, which encouraged them to study both sides of the argument. The debates were judged on how well each team's argument was informative with respect to the Scriptures, Christian theology, and other fields of knowledge (such as science, interfaith relations, and social ethics). The teams were also judged on "speaking the Truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)."

The winning team consisted of Maggie Davis (Captain), Hailey Strother, and Ginny Greer.  Maggie and Hailey are both long time members of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church. Maggie states, “SUMMA has definitely been a life changing experience. I have gained such a greater understanding of Christianity through this unique opportunity. By going to the Word of God when studying controversial topics, I have grown closer to my Heavenly Father. Because we research and debate both sides of an issue, my viewpoints have been expanded. I have learned so much, and I am so grateful for this unique opportunity to develop skills in public speaking and learn to think critically, all while learning more about my faith and drawing closer to God.”

Hailey agrees and states that “SUMMA has taught me to respectfully discuss various topics with an open mind, encouraging me to consider all viewpoints of a debate. This skill will enable me to make the best informed decisions I can make. Without a doubt, SUMMA has been an incredible experience."

It is certainly refreshing to see today’s youth embracing such an outstanding learning opportunity and growing closer to God. You can view a recording of the winning debate at www.itssm.org/summa/2013-2014-debate-season.

Read more about our Celebrations:
Welcoming Cindy Fribourgh
Just Communities Honors the Interfaith Center