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2024 Flourishing Summer School

We are delighted to invite submissions for our forthcoming Flourishing Summer School centered on the theme “Flourishing in Faith Communities”. This initiative seeks to foster a deeper understanding and expansion in the field of human flourishing studies, an area exploring various dimensions including happiness and life satisfaction, physical and mental health, meaning and purpose, character and virtue, and close social relationships.

The Flourishing Summer School also seeks to provide developing early career researchers and practitioners opportunities to network with more experienced researchers within the field of human flourishing. In addition, graduate students will be given the opportunity to present their research within the theory-research-practice framework. Students are invited to submit their presentation proposals.

Event Details

  • Theme: “Flourishing in Faith Communities”
  • Date: June 27-28, 2024
  • Location: Regent University, 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23464

Keynote Speakers


Dr. William Hathaway – “Christian Flourishing: Towards an Abundant Life Framework.”

William (Bill) Hathaway, Ph.D., is a respected figure in the Christian higher education sector, renowned for his outstanding leadership and commitment to fostering Christ-centered education at Regent University. His illustrious career at Regent University includes roles as Professor of Psychology in the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs. Holding a Ph.D. and M.A. in Clinical Psychology, an M.A. in Philosophy, and a B.A. in Psychology/Philosophy of Religion, Dr. Hathaway possesses a rich educational background. His expertise extends beyond academia, as a licensed clinical psychologist with a notable post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. A patriot, Dr. Hathaway served as a captain in the United States Air Force for seven years, where he also contributed to the educational sector, guiding counseling interns and teaching courses in Germany. His knowledge and insights have graced several significant platforms, including the U.S. Department of Education sessions in 2019. As a keynote speaker at the Flourishing Summer School, Dr. Hathaway will unpack the concept of “The Abundant Life” as a vital framework for Christian flourishing, promising to offer fresh perspectives and inspiring insights to the attendees. His talk is eagerly anticipated as a highlight of the event, promising a fusion of faith, education, and personal development insights.


Dr. Tyler VanderWeele – “Measuring Human Flourishing Globally: Early Findings and Implications for Religious Communities”

Tyler J. VanderWeele, Ph.D., is a distinguished scholar currently serving as the John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. VanderWeele is also at the helm of the Human Flourishing Program and co-leads the Initiative on Health, Spirituality, and Religion at Harvard University. With a rich educational background that includes degrees from the University of Oxford, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University, he stands as a beacon of knowledge in fields ranging from mathematics to theology. His expertise is particularly noted in the realms of epidemiology and biostatistics, where he delves deep into the nuances of causal inference and psychosocial measurement theory. An award-winning scholar, Dr. VanderWeele is the recipient of the 2017 Presidents’ Award from COPSS. He has also contributed extensively to the academic community, with over four hundred papers published in peer-reviewed journals and several significant books to his credit. At the forthcoming Flourishing Summer School, Dr. VanderWeele is slated to share early findings from the Global Flourishing Study in his talk titled “Measuring Human Flourishing Globally: Early Findings from the Global Flourishing Study and Implications for Religious Communities”. This session promises to offer a rich, scientific exploration of human flourishing on a global scale, and its implications for religious communities, enhancing the dialogue on spirituality and well-being.

Dr. Jennifer Ripley – “Religious/Spiritual Care Competencies in Clinical Practice and Settings

Jennifer Ripley, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist based in Virginia Beach, stands as a leaders in the integration of psychology and Christianity, particularly as it pertains to marriage and relationships. As a professor at Regent University, she dedicates herself to nurturing the holistic development of her students, steering them towards a harmonious blend of Christian principles and psychological practices. In her extensive career, she has actively collaborated with local leaders and students to foster healthy family dynamics in church communities globally, particularly through the Charis Institute and the Hope Project. This project, under her direction, has facilitated effective couple therapy sessions, with over 500 couples benefiting from the initiative. Dr. Ripley is also a prolific author, with numerous articles and books to her credit. Her widely recognized book, “Hope Focused Marriage Counseling,” serves as a vital resource in Christian couple counseling, reflecting her significant impact in the field. At the Flourishing Summer School, Dr. Ripley will share her expertise during a session titled “Religious/Spiritual Care Competencies in Clinical Practice and Settings”, promising to be a wellspring of practical knowledge and insights to enhance spiritual care competencies within Christian communities. Holding a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and a license in clinical psychology, Dr. Ripley’s contributions to the field are both substantial and inspiring. Always eager for a good theological discussion, she continues to explore complex issues in Christian integration, fostering a nurturing environment for both students and colleagues alike.


Dr. Everett Worthington Jr. – “Human Flourishing and Practicing Forgiveness”

Everett Worthington, Ph.D., the revered Commonwealth Professor Emeritus, continues to be a pivotal figure at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Psychology, even post-retirement in 2017. A distinguished researcher and author, he devotes his work to the study of forgiveness, virtues, spirituality, and the intricacies of marriage and family life. His ultimate goal is to foster a spirit of forgiveness in individuals, families, and broader communities, embodying the mantra – “every heart, every home, and every homeland.” Since the mid-1980s, Worthington has been deeply immersed in the professional counseling of couples, which piqued his interest in the psychology of forgiveness. This curiosity blossomed into a full-fledged scientific inquiry from 1990, positioning him as a trailblazer in the field of forgiveness research. Through his leadership at ‘A Campaign for Forgiveness Research’ between 1998 and 2005, he facilitated grants of over $6 million on forgiveness studies, nurturing the growth of researchers globally. Worthington’s personal journey with forgiveness took a profound turn following the tragic murder of his mother in 1996. This incident propelled him to explore the intersections of forgiveness with justice, faith, and virtue, forming the crux of his recent endeavors. His personal tragedy not only illuminated the path of forgiving others but also brought the concept of self-forgiveness into his research spectrum, drawn from his own experiences of guilt and self-reproach. At the upcoming Flourishing Summer School, Worthington will facilitate a workshop on “Human Flourishing and Practicing Forgiveness,” promising to be a haven of healing, personal growth, and the fostering of forgiveness at multiple levels. Participants can anticipate a transformative experience, equipping them with the tools to embrace forgiveness wholeheartedly and foster human flourishing in their practice and church settings.

Registration Benefits

Your registration not only grants you access to the enriching sessions by our speakers but also includes participation in the continuous education workshop on “Human Flourishing and Practicing Forgiveness” led by Dr. Everett Worthington Jr.. This workshop aims to equip attendees with practical insights and tools for nurturing forgiveness and flourishing in Christian communities.

Register here (link will be provided soon)!

Submission Guidelines

We welcome students, researchers, and practitioners to contribute papers that resonate with the summer school’s objectives:

  1. Analyzing and discussing theories pertinent to flourishing in faith communities.
  2. Recognizing and augmenting the current research landscape within the field of human flourishing.
  3. Implementing existing theory and research in both clinical and faith settings.

Topics of Interest

  • Faith and spirituality as domains of human flourishing.
  • Empirical evidence on well-being in faith communities.
  • Biblical interpretations and their implications for human flourishing.
  • Development of spiritual care competencies for faith communities.
  • The confluence of science, health, and religious/spiritual teachings in enhancing human flourishing.

Submission Requirements

Abstract (250-300 words) detailing the aim, methodology, and findings of your research.

Brief Biography (100 words) outlining your affiliation and areas of research interest.

Submitted to the event organizers:

Important Dates

  • Abstract Proposal Submission Deadline: February 15, 2024
  • Acceptance Notification: March 10, 2024
  • Summer School Registration Deadline: April 23, 2024

To submit your papers and for additional details, please visit our submission page here (link will be available soon). Submissions should be accompanied by a short bio.

We anticipate your valuable contributions to this dynamic event on flourishing in Christian communities. This event promises to be a harmonious blend of intellectual engagement, stimulating discussions, networking opportunities, and spiritually enriching experiences.