March 22, 2011

AMHERST, Mass.—On Tuesday, April 12, at 4 p.m. in the first-floor periodicals area, Amherst College’s Frost Library will host  a celebration of the publication of A Transforming Vision: Multiethnic fellowship in college and in the Church (Doorlight Publications, 2011), a new book edited by Amherst College Director of Religious Life Paul Sorrentino. Free and open to the public, the gathering will feature readings and a discussion of A Transforming Vision with Sorrentino and contributor the Rev. Tim Jones, who graduated from Amherst in 2005. (Books will be available for purchase as well, for a discounted price of $10, cash or check.)

According to the publisher, A Transforming Vision demonstrates why Christian communities should be multiethnic and provides a practical vision of how  to make that so. In the book, the 22 contributing authors—who were all associated with the Amherst Christian Fellowship (ACF) at Amherst College—recount their experiences in the fellowship and explain some of the theory undergirding their efforts to be an intentional multiethnic fellowship between 1994 and 2005. They write openly about their successes and failures, and Jones even delves into why there are legitimate times when a fellowship might not be multiethnic.

In the foreword, Chris Rice, co-director of the Duke Center for Reconciliation, hails the book, writing, “Central to the power of the story told in A Transforming Vision is to illuminate the kind of concrete, down-to-earth changes which are necessary if this new life is to take hold of us. [The contributors] learned that how power is used, who makes decisions and how, can be either a means of grace… or [can block] transformation by holding power in the hands of dominant and often implicit structures. They learned to see that we have all been habituated to remain apart, to think we can live well and find truth about the world self-sufficiently, to assume we do not need each other. What they learned is that even how we sing and pray is not innocent but is culturally formed, and that learning to offer these gifts to one another is hard work. But like different musical ‘sections’ which are rich in themselves but only find their full meaning and completeness in symphonic chorus, if we can learn life together the music is far more beautiful.”

Sorrentino earned a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, a master of divinity degree from the Bethel Seminary of the East and a doctorate of ministry from the Princeton Theological Seminary. In addition to serving as director of religious life at Amherst, he works as a regional coordinator with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He was the principal staff worker for the ACF from 1991 to 2005 and is on the faculty of Bethel Seminary of the East. This is his second book.

Jones holds a B.A. from Amherst and a master of divinity degree from Bos­ton University School of Theology. He is currently the associate pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, Mass. He also serves at his alma mater as Protestant religious advisor and advisor to the Mrs. Hermenia T. Gardner Bi-Semester Christian Worship Series and the ACF. During his college years, he served on the leadership team with the Amherst Christian Fellowship.