November 2, 2021

Dear Friends,

You are cordially invited to attend the annual meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics which will be held January 6-9, 2022 at the Hilton Orange County in Costa Mesa, California, concurrently with the meetings of the Society of Jewish Ethics and the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics. To register for the meeting click here

To reserve your room online click here or call 800-445-8667 and reference the “SCE Annual Meeting.” The Society of Christian Ethics has secured discounted rates per night for Annual Meeting attendees.  Attendees are responsible for making their own hotel reservations.  The special rate will be offered until Wednesday, December 22 at midnight Pacific time.  By the way, the hotel is less than a ten-minute taxi ride from the John Wayne Airport.

The primary focus of the October meeting of the SCE Board was conference preparations.  In particular, we discussed the risks that each of us have had to take throughout the pandemic, for indeed, risk is precisely what we estimate every time we teach, gather, work, eat, celebrate, and mourn these now 18 months.  As we watch as our registrations advance at a healthy pace, we know that each of you, in making your decisions to come to the SCE Annual Meeting, must assess that risk. 

Toward that end, registrants will be required to submit proof of vaccination and a recent PCR or Antigen test, within 72 hours of the conference start, so as to secure their badges. Prior to your arrival we will be posting on the SCE website Costa Mesa locations for securing such COVID testing. Additionally, masks will be required throughout the meeting and we will follow all other CDC guidelines.  Finally, on December 15, we will send out another update with greater specificity on the steps we will be taking at the conference to minimize risk. 

At this year’s meeting we will engage an important and timely theme: “Examining the Ethics of Our Institutions: The Academy and the Church.”  This is the first time we are collectively investigating our own institutions after decades of looking at other ones. With six concurrent sessions, three working and interest group sessions, two plenary panel presentations, thirty-five posters, and a breakfast with an author session we have a very engaging conference planned.  

Let me highlight some of the specifics. For our first plenary panel, “Examining the Ethics of the Church,” we will hear from MT Davila, Darlene Fozard Weaver, and Traci West, with Emilie M. Townes presiding. For the second plenary, “Examining the Ethics of the Academy,” Ki Joo (KC) Choi, Matthew Gaudet, and Nikia Robert will present and Jennifer Harvey will preside. 

Do you want to share your expertise beyond the ivory tower? Do you wish that the media contacted you more often about relevant issues in the news?  Do you wonder how to handle interviews? Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church will sponsor a "Media 101" training on Thursday, January 6, 2:30-3:45 p.m.  Karen Foshay of the LATimes will lead the session.  The training is free and open to all members of the SCE.  Spots are limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis.  If you wish to attend, please write to [email protected].

As Chair of the Professional Conduct Committee, Traci West and members of the Committee will be holding a session on professional conduct and the SCE: “That Person’s a Jerk! But Did They Violate Professional Standards?” The committee will invite discussion of our updated SCE policies and how we use them to address inappropriate conduct and improve our own institutional culture.  This session will be held on Saturday, January 8 at 7:00 PM.

The new “LGBTQI+ Working Group” will have their inaugural meeting on Thursday, January 6th, 2022, at 1pm. Check the program for details.

We will also honor Stanley Hauerwas with the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award.  The author of over fifty books exploring the significance of the virtues, church, and narrative for understanding Christian existence, Stanley was named "America’s Best Theologian" by Time magazine in 2001, the same year in which he delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of St. Andrews.  An active member of the Society of Christian Ethics for many decades, and beloved teacher and mentor for many members of our Society, Stanley served as SCE President in 2011 and during his tenure, launched the "Future of Christian Ethics" Initiative.

At the Business Meeting, we will witness the handing over of the editorial reins of the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics from Kevin M. Carnahan and Scott Paeth to Ki Joo (KC) Choi and Maria Teresa (MT) Davila. We will thank Kevin and Scott in Costa Mesa, not only for their editorial work during their five-year tenure, but also because they successfully moved the JSCE to digital submission management system for authors, editors, and referees, and managed the shift in publishers from Georgetown University Press to the Philosophy Documentation Center, while redesigning the journal. Finally, we will also be able to thank Lisa Arnold-Powell for her work as Book Review Editor and to welcome Tallessyn Grenfell-Lee as her successor.

Among the reports at the Business meeting, we will discuss a proposal from the Personnel Committee regarding the growing number of ethicists seeking to be members who do not hold the PhD degree.  We will also report on our launch this past August of the Mid-Term Virtual Meeting and solicit your suggestions on a three year trial of this initiative..

The Nominating Committee, chaired by Ki Joo (KC) Choi has brought forward for our consideration a wonderful slate of candidates: Mary Jo Iozzio and Emilie Townes have agreed to stand for Vice-President; Jesse Couenhoven, Matthew Gaudet, Kevin Jung, Ellen Ott Marshall, Patrick Smith, and Devan Stahl are each willing to serve if elected on our Board of Directors; Kathy Chow and Layne Hancock are candidates for the open student seat on the Board.

For what it’s worth, I decided to arrive on Tuesday January 4th in Costa Mesa to put together a list of area restaurants that have outdoor dining.  

In the meantime, we need more volunteers!!!!  So far we have 38 of the 65 conveners and 8 of the 20 facilitators…. Please, Please volunteer by indicating on your registration form.  If you have already registered and would like to volunteer please reach out to [email protected].

Finally, if you are coming from overseas and need assistance in any way, please do not hesitate to let me know.  We want to welcome you to Costa Mesa.

I hope that the next two months are good to you and that we are able to meet in Costa Mesa with one another in confidence so as have a truly memorable gathering of the Society of Christian Ethics.