Aerial photograph of the Immaculate Conception Chapel

Where in the World is Religion Today?

Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Welcome and Introduction of Keynote Speaker

9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Keynote Presentation: The Whole World in God’s Hands

9:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Do we seek God, or does God seek us? Is God bigger than organized religion? Is living a faith-filled spirituality more foundational than religious practices? How can organized religion transform itself in such a way as to attract more people and better nourish their spirituality? These are some of the issues that will be addressed in this keynote presentation.

William P. Roberts, Ph.D. is professor of Theology at the University of Dayton and the author/editor of 15 books. During the past decade, he had moderated over 20 UDLLI seminars.


11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Panel Presentation: The American Church and the Challenge of Culture

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This presentation considers how and why popular culture is a relevant topic of discussion for Christians, using Scripture and my own research interests. The panel will discuss the challenges faced by the church, specifically with regard to young people.  A part of the presentation will be focused on World Religion and Popular Culture.  Along with a discussion through the Eyes of Angels, we will explore how technologies expose us to an unprecedented array of information.

Panel Facilitator: Sandra Yocum, Ph.D., Associate Professor Religious Studies

Katherine Schmidt received her BA in political science and theology from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2007, and her MA in theological studies from the University of Dayton in 2010. She is pursuing a PhD in theology at the University of Dayton, and her research interests include American Catholicism and the intersection of theology and culture. She is currently pursuing dissertation research on the theology of internet technologies.

Colin McGuigan is a doctoral student in Theology in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Dayton. His research interests are in epistemology, philosophy of religion, ethics and theology and film. His degrees are in history (BA University of Maryland Baltimore County) and theology (M.T.S., Duke University. He has three children with his wife, Amber, and lives in northwest Dayton.

Josh Brown is a doctoral student in theology and Graduate Instructor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton. His areas of scholarly interest are the Christology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, the Confucian philosophical tradition.

Adam Sheridan is a graduate student at the University of Dayton, pursuing a PhD in theology. His primary research focus is on the theology of human work in Catholic social teaching. His secondary research focus is theology and technology.


12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

River Campus Dining Room

Workshop Sessions

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
2:45 – 3:45 p.m.

Interfaith Forum of Greater Dayton Panel Discussion
The Interfaith Forum of Greater Dayton is dedicated to exploring the relationship among our various religions and to promoting interfaith harmony by enhancing understanding of the tenets and practices of our members’ religions, by challenging intolerance and extremism, and by providing educational opportunities to the Greater Dayton Community, by sponsoring lectures and panel discussions on topics that relate to interfaith understanding. The panel will have members of different faiths discussing Dayton area programs and outreach with which their diverse faith communities are involved.

Chris Ellis, President, Interfaith Forum of Greater Dayton.

Religion and Politics
What characteristics of a candidate’s religion affect voter choice? What religious beliefs and practices would render a candidate unelectable? What aspects of people’s religion influence their political views and choices? Is it more a matter of general theological orientation, or is it their religion’s rules and positions on concrete social issues? How does a person’s political outlook affect his or her religious views and behavior? This discussion-oriented session will focus on the perceptions of “ordinary people,” not on academic studies.

Bob Reece is a retired Wright State Professor. He earned his Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University.

Religion and the Environment – A Climate of Change and Justice
We’ll explore the role of faith communities in environmental care, and addressing climate change from Ohio to globe. Learn about impacts of heat waves and storms on human and environmental health. Receive science and faith resources and discover action steps we can each take in our homes, congregations, and region.

Sister Leanne Jablonski, FMI, PhD. Marianist Sister Leanne is a plant ecologist/climate scientist and pastoral minister engaged in faith and justice outreach regionally to nationally. She directs the Marianist Environmental Education Center ( and at UD coordinates the Sustainability Energy Environment LLC and teaches Ecology and Religion.

On Religious Liberty: Religion in the U.S. Constitution
Religion was certainly on the minds of the Founders as they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This presentation will cover how the words of those documents treat religion, as well as the Supreme Court’s interpretation and application of those documents in specific cases. The focus will be on the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment.

Paul E. McGreal is the ninth dean of the University of Dayton School of Law. He has earned the following degrees: LL.M., Yale Law School, J.D., Magna Cum Laude, Dedman School of Law, Southern Methodist University a B.A. in Economics, Cum Laude, Williams College

Women: Keepers and Transformers of Faith
Sr. Laura will discuss her research on “Religious Agency,” how people, and particularly women, transmit and work to transform their faith traditions. She has studied this phenomenon among Catholic, Protestant and Mormon women, both here in the UD and in India.

Sr. Laura Leming, FMI, is a Marianist Sister and Sociologist of Religion, and the Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at UD. She also served as a Campus Minister here for 13 years.

Wine and Cheese Social

Entertainment provided by the Miami Valley Flute Circle

4:00 – 4:30 p.m.