The Rev. Darrell Guder, professor of missional and ecumenical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and former president of the American Society of Missiology, will lead the series “America After Christendom: The Hardest Mission Field,” Aug. 11-14 at the fourth Delaware Valley Summer Institute hosted by the Presbyterian churches in Lambertville, Titusville, Stockton, and Mt. Airy, N.J. 

The institute is unique in that the largest of the four sponsoring churches ― Titusville ― is just 155 members and two of the others are under 100 members each.

Participants in the four-night series will explore the rapidly and massively changing culture in America, the shifting of global Christianity’s center from the northern to the southern hemisphere, the rise of secularization, and how these changes not only challenge but provide missional opportunities for the Church in the United States. 

Guder’s Aug. 11 presentation, hosted by the Lambertville Presbyterian Church and titled “Western Christendom: Fact and Fiction,” will allow participants to consider the historical claim that western societies were “Christian societies” and the problems that arise in this claim for both Christianity and society. 

His Aug. 12 presentation, hosted by the Titusville Presbyterian Church and titled “Strangers and Aliens: The Original Strategy of the Christian Movement,” will take participants on a journey through early Christian history as they explore the first-century Christians’ understanding of their relationship to the state and other civil powers. 

The Aug. 13 presentation, hosted by the Stockton Presbyterian Church and titled “How and Why Christendom Is Ending,” will examine the major reasons for the current shifts in culture and church; if these shifts can, or should, be opposed; and whether or not the era of “Christendom” can be brought back. 

His last presentation, on Aug. 14, hosted by the Mt. Airy Presbyterian Church and titled “America, the Hardest Mission Field,” will enable participants to learn about the concrete implications of the current changes in American church and society and the ways in which modern Christian communities can understand themselves, and what they are for, in this new era.

Guder’s “America After Christendom: The Hardest Mission Field” is the fourth joint summer education series the four churches have sponsored for the public since 2009. Previous speakers have included  Jeremy Hutton, who presented a series on Old Testament prophets and prophecies; C. Clifton Black, who led classes on Jesus’ parables as presented through each of the four canonical gospels; and Martin Tel, who guided participants on a journey through the music of the Psalms.

The 2013 Delaware Valley Summer Institute is free and open to the public. All presentations will begin at 7 p.m. and will be followed by light refreshments.

For more information, call any of the four churches: Lambertville, 609-397-0650; Titusville, 609-737-1385; Stockton, 609-462-5737; or Mt. Airy, 609-397-2086.