This program is made possible in part through a Worship Renewal Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship,
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 
with funds provided by Lilly Endowment Inc.

The Abundance Festival:

Living Toward a Culture of Community and Abundance

Thursday, May 29th, 2014 | 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Broadway United Methodist Church | 609 E. 29th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46205  

Walter Brueggemann   John McKnight   Peter Block

John McKnight and Peter Block, co-authors of The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods, are joined by renowned Scripture scholar Walter Brueggemann, author most recently of Journey to the Common Good, to show us how associations, institutions, churches, and citizens can build and nurture relationships that allow us to unleash our gifts and create a better community,
to allow us to move from a narrative of scarcity to one of abundance.  

                 We are pleased to offer this event at no charge.  
Please pre-register to assist with our count for the complimentary lunch. 

Conversation Descriptions:

“The Food Fight: Accumulation and Abundance” - Walter Brueggemann
Considering the struggle for food in the Bible, the avarice that arises from anxiety, and the counterpossiblity of abundance as a gift of God.

“The Gift of Fallibility” - John McKnight
Discussing the incredible value of all that systems and professions see as fallible, deficient, and broken.

“The Neighborhood is the Wilderness” - Peter Block
Focusing on the process of reconstructing the wilderness by convening citizens into an economics of compassion.


Sponsored by Broadway United Methodist Church with Christian Theological Seminary,
funded in part through the Worship Renewal Grant from
the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.



Event Timeline:

8:30 a.m. Registration and coffee

9:00 a.m. Opening & Introductions

9:20 a.m. Connections

9:50 a.m. Break

10:00 a.m. Conversation with Walter Brueggemann

11:00 a.m. Conversation with John McKnight

12:00 p.m. Lunch (Complimentary)

1:00 p.m. Conversation with Peter Block

2:00 p.m. Small Groups

2:45 p.m. Closing Remarks

3:00 p.m. Adjourn


  1. Step 1 Selection
  2. Step 2 Registration
Thursday May 29
8:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Living Toward a Culture of Community and Abundance
Event registration summary
The Abundance Festival:
Free- Includes Lunch

About Walter Brueggemann
Walter Brueggemann is surely one of the most influential Bible interpreters of our time. He is the author of over one hundred books and numerous scholarly articles. He continues to be a highly sought-after speaker. Brueggemann was born in Tilden, Nebraska in 1933. He often speaks of the influence of his father, a German Evangelical pastor. Brueggemann attended Elmhurst College, graduating in 1955 with an A.B. He went on to Eden Theological Seminary, earning a B.D. (equivalent to today’s M.Div.) in 1958.

He completed his formal theological education at Union Theological Seminary in 1961, earning the Th.D. under the primary guidance of James Muilenburg. While teaching at Eden, he earned a Ph.D. in education at St. Louis University. Brueggemann has served as faculty at two institutions in his career: Eden Theological Seminary (1961-1986) and Columbia Theological Seminary (1986-2003). He is currently William Marcellus McPheeters professor emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia. Brueggemann’s primary method with the text is rhetorical criticism. Words matter to Brueggemann, and one can tell that by listening to him speak as he hangs on to particularly theologically significant words. His magnum opus, Theology of the Old Testament (1997), is a rhetorical-critical look at the Old Testament through the lenses of “testimony, dispute, and advocacy.” Many have come to know Brueggemann through his book entitled The Prophetic Imagination, originally published in 1978. His best-known work, however, may be with the Psalms. Numerous church leaders have used his Message of the Psalms as a new way of organizing and processing the Psalms. He has been writing about the Psalms since 1982, and he continues to this day with a commentary due in November 2013. Church leaders find a friend in Brueggemann, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. His work inspires, energizes, and convicts, and he always makes time to interact personally with those to whom he speaks at large events.

He is a longtime St. Louis Cardinals/Browns fan. Brueggemann and his wife Tia currently reside in Cincinnati, Ohio. (from

About John McKnight
John L. McKnight was raised a traveling Ohioan, having lived in seven neighborhoods and small towns in the eighteen years before he left to attend Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois. There, he had the good fortune to be educated by a faculty dedicated to preparing students for effective citizenship. He graduated into the U.S. Navy, where he had three years of “postgraduate” education in Asia during the Korean War. McKnight returned to Chicago and began working for several activist organizations, including the Chicago Commission for Human Relations, the first municipal civil rights agency. There he learned the Alinsky trade called community organizing. This was followed by the directorship of the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union, where he organized local chapters throughout the state. When John Kennedy was elected president, McKnight was recruited into the federal government, where he worked with a new agency that created the affirmative action program. Later, he was appointed the Midwest director of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, where he worked with local civil rights and neighborhood organizations. In 1969, McKnight’s alma mater, Northwestern University, invited him to return and help initiate a new department called the Center for Urban Affairs. This was a group of interdisciplinary faculty doing research designed to support urban change agents and progressive urban policy. McKnight’s appointment was an act of heroism on the part of the university, as it gave him a tenured professorship, though he had only a bachelor’s degree. While at the center and its successor, the Institute for Policy Research, McKnight and a few of his colleagues focused their research on urban neighborhoods. The best-known result of this work was the formulation of an understanding of neighborhoods focused on the usefulness of local resources, capacities, and relationships. This work was documented in a guide titled Building Communities from the Inside Out, describing an approach to community building that became a major development strategy practiced in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. As an aside, it was during this time that McKnight was one of the trainers of Barack Obama as he learned the skills of community organizing.

McKnight is also the author of The Careless Society, a classic critique of professionalized social services and a celebration of communities’ ability to heal themselves from within. Currently, McKnight has joined Peter Block in practical explorations of how communities become “villages” with the capacity to raise their children. (from

About Peter Block
Peter Block was born in Chicago and spent most of his early years in the Midwest. After college, he went to New Jersey and was involved in the early days of creating the field of organization development. This entailed some years at Exxon Research and Engineering Company and then the formation of a consulting firm with Tony Petrella. Marvin Weisbord joined in 1971, and the firm did pretty well until, Block says, “we all got into our sixties and either retired or moved in other directions.” In 1980, Block started Designed Learning, a training company that offers workshops based on the ideas in his books. It still thrives and works to help staff people in organizations to have more influence and impact.

In 1995, Block got involved with city government and city managers through conferences held by the Innovations Group based in Florida. This led to his interest in building community, which has been his obsession ever since. Block met McKnight at a community conference convened by Police Chief Mike Butler in Longmont, Colorado. This is where their common view of the world became obvious to both of them, which eventually culminated in writing this book. Block has written seven other books, including Flawless Consulting, The Empowered Manager, Stewardship, Freedom and Accountability (with Peter Koestenbaum), The Answer to How Is Yes, and Community: The Structure of Belonging. The community work is now centered in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Block has been a citizen since 1998. He is engaged in developing a civic engagement network called A Small Group, plus a series of other projects working on building the capacity of this urban community to value its gifts and see its own possibility. (from


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